The Soldotna Regional Sports Complex has been a bot topic at Soldotna City Council meetings. On the agenda for this week’s meeting, at 6 p.m. Wednesday, the council will discuss the COVID-19 operating plan for the facility.
At the council’s last meeting, Aug. 26, council members voted on renovations to the 37-year-old building. The city is moving forward on a phased plan to rehab the facility. City Manager Stephanie Queen says the first phase is updates to the function of the building.
“It’s a suite of improvements that are really a lot of deferred maintenance at our sports center,” Queen said. “We’ve gotten a lot of life out of that facility. It’s an aging facility. The administration had a small group that got together and worked with some design professionals to identify some projects that could really improve the functionality of that space for the users and for our staff there.”
Not the most exciting upgrades but important — replacing the ceiling over the bleachers and mezzanine, painting arena walls, renovating locker room showers, improving ADA parking, as well as landscaping and sidewalks, renovating the office and replacing the exterior doors.
That’s got an estimated price tag of $1.5 million, which includes a little wiggle room for contingencies. That didn’t quite cover all the council’s wish list, though. Councilman Jordan Chilson would like to see an exterior upgrade, as well.
“I really do believe that the outside of that building really needs a facelift. And we talked siding during one of our work sessions, or potentially, basically, painting or refreshing the existing siding on there, and I didn’t see that included as part of this year’s work at the $1.5 million price point,” Chilson said.
A future phase of the project proposes renovating and expanding the conference rooms. The council hasn’t voted on that plan yet. Public Works Director Kyle Kornelis says it makes more sense to wait on a significant exterior upgrade to see if they’ll add on to the building to expand the conference center. In the meantime, Kornelis says the work to the front doors should help the look of the building, and there might be money left in the $1.5 million budget for some additional aesthetic touches.
"So there may very well be some funds available for us to do some, I wouldn’t say significant changes, but some aesthetic changes that could be relatively cheap to that make a difference to that front façade,” Kornelis said.
The council approved the phase one renovation proposal. Design work and project bidding will begin soon, with construction likely starting in January.