Herald/JOHN A. BOWERSMITH - Killeen Parks and Recreation director Brett Williams shows Community Services Committee members the city’s new senior center at Lions Club Park. The center is scheduled to open May 3.

By Kevin M. Smith

Killeen Daily Herald

The new Killeen senior and recreation centers are scheduled to open May 3.

That's what Killeen Parks and Recreation Director Brett Williams told Community Services Committee members and city staff during a tour of the two facilities' progress at Lions Club Park on Tuesday.

Williams said the new senior center is 85 percent done and the new family recreation center is 75 percent completed.

The committee started the tour in the senior center, which will include a covered drop-off area, a ballroom with a platform, administrative offices, and crafts, billiards, games, exercise and living rooms.

"This is the main feature of the building," said Williams, standing in the center of the ballroom.

He said the new senior center is much larger than the current Bob Gilmore center.

"This is the building right now with a little extra space," Williams said in the ballroom, referring to the size.

The new building will also have a commercial kitchen attached to the ballroom.

There will be two crafts rooms – one for messy projects like pottery and one for clean projects. There will also be a kiln to complete the pottery.

Supplies are stacked in the middle of many of the rooms, which have tiles or carpet, cabinets and paint. The only things missing in most rooms are ceiling tiles and furniture.

The fitness room will be equipped with light exercise equipment such as elliptical machines and stationary bicycles.

"It will accommodate a full-circuit workout," Williams said.

The main feature in the new family recreation center will be the basketball court.

"I don't think you are going to find a better gym floor in a recreation center," Williams said.

He moved sandbags to pull back a plastic cover hanging from the ceiling that blocked the view from the second floor's track path. There are 12 goals on two wood courts; Williams said that will give the opportunity for four teams to practice simultaneously.

"It's big," Councilwoman and committee chair Claudia Brown said when she saw the basketball courts.

At the center of each court is the Killeen logo in the middle of a Texas outline.

"And finally, we're going to have citizens go, 'Wow, we deserve this,'" Williams said.

He said accessibility and happiness are the primary goals of the new recreation center.

Accessible to the general public will be a meeting room and lobby near the front entrance. Everything beyond the front desk will be available only by paying a fee, which is currently under review. Children participating in city youth sports and activities will have full access to the gymnasium and facilities.

The lobby area will include vending machines and a TV.

"So if you're here, waiting on your child, you can get a beverage, sit down and relax," Williams said.

There will also be a game room with computers, air hockey tables, etc.; a child care room; and locker rooms on the first floor.

The second floor will be restricted to only those at least 16 years old, unless they are accompanied by an adult, and available only after paying a fee. It will include treadmills, elliptical machines, mechanical weights and free weights. The equipment was bought with a $165,000 donation from Killeenite and professional football player Tommie Harris.

There will also be a three-lane, one-thirteenth mile track on the second floor. The track surface will be DynaForce, a more shock absorbent rubber-type service. The second floor also overlooks the lobby and game room.

"It's designed so when people come in, they are enticed to see what's inside," Williams said.

Unlike the senior center, the recreation center still resembles more of a construction site than a completed building with workers buzzing around completing dry wall, painting and other minor pieces and cosmetics.

Council members Kenny Wells and Juan Rivera, who both sit on the Community Services Committee, saw the buildings under construction during a tour in August.

"I think it's a great facility," Wells said. "It's all-inclusive, from children to elderly."

Rivera said he is concerned about the fees because he wants the facility to be as accessible as possible. He also said after the new family aquatic center is built, Lions Club Park will become the premier spot for families in Killeen.

Williams said the opening of the two buildings on May 3 will include an open house for all residents.

Contact Kevin M. Smith at ksmith@kdhnews.com or call (254) 501-7550

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