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A Ceremonious Day for Olathe, Kansas

Olathe Community Center Groundbreaking

I was thrilled to attend the Olathe Community Center groundbreaking ceremony on Saturday, December 15th, 2012!

Not only are Olathe and Johnson County, Kansas my old stomping grounds—but the community center is a project the BRS/SFS Architecture team was fortunate to win via a national design competition in 2011.

The design procedures were certainly unique due to the competition process. Following the win, we conducted a pre-design process that included touring the client through several similar community recreation centers in Colorado, Kansas and Missouri, and then gauging the City Council’s preference regarding the look and feel of the proposed building. Schematic design and design development phases followed with a program enhancement for an approximately 72,000-square-foot center with a triple-court gymnasium, fitness center, indoor pool complex, and community events hall.

BRS and our consulting team developed the project using Revit software, and SFS Architecture continued to complete the model in construction documents with BRS’s support. This is the first building I’ve stamped and sealed as a registered architect in the state of Kansas, and I greatly appreciated SFS’s knowledge and expertise in dealing with the City of Olathe, Johnson County, and State of Kansas procedures.

At the groundbreaking, the Kansas City metro area received a good drenching overnight: a much-needed downpour bringing several inches of rain to the region. An hour before spade time, the sun broke through the clouds and all those century-old oak trees in Stagecoach Park created a wonderful dappled light on Mayor Michael Copeland, City Council members, parks board members, and a hundred or so residents who braved the brisk, 49-degree morning air. Olathe Parks and Recreation Director Kevin Corbett thanked the leaders, city staff, BRS, SFS, our design team, and the construction team led by McGown Gordon Construction.

Kevin turned the mic over to Mayor Michael Copeland, who exclaimed, “This is a time to celebrate community. This is a perfect time for us to celebrate this facility that will bring our community together, so that we may strengthen relationships, forge new relationships…talk about the matters that are important to all of us… [This will be] a gathering place, a place to learn, a place to become healthier…a place that unites young and old, a place where friendships are built and—as the name implies—so is community.”

Mayor Copeland then went on to announce, “Today we break ground for what will be a treasure for all of Olathe… My friends, this community center will be exceptional. I am so proud to stand here today and make our residents’ voice a reality. This is a great day for Olathe and a testament to all those who entrusted us to listen and to make their desire come to life."

The mayor, City Council and parks board grabbed 10 shiny shovels and turned the earth to thunderous applause.

The community center has been staked out–it’s got an impressive footprint–and the grand trees are protected with orange construction fencing around their reach of branches and root systems, creating a colorful collage of circular patterns in the 41-acre park setting. The contractor is mobilized and began excavation the following Monday. The highly anticipated center is slated to open in mid-2014—and we can’t wait to see it become a reality.

Posted on December 27, 2012 at 04:13pm

Tags: groundbreaking (12), community recreation center (31)

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