Hayden Center opening delayed two weeks, now planned for March 15
While the March 1 opening of the Hayden Center will be slightly delayed because of mechanical problems in the old Hayden High School building, the town hopes those will be fixed in time to open March 15.
“From Dec. 15 to March 15, we have literally stood up an entire fitness program,” said Mathew Mendisco, town manager of Hayden, at Thursday’s Town Council meeting. “I think some people thought we would just move weight equipment over and just kind of open the door, but it is a little harder than that.”
Since officially purchasing the building in late December, Mendisco said they have been working as fast as they can to get the Hayden Center open. There is still a lot of work to do for the entire vision of the center to be realized, but Mendisco said people will be able to workout there and get memberships soon.
While on a call with the Steamboat Springs Chamber earlier this week, Mendisco said he was asked if they would be opening around midyear or late summer. He said he replied, “Three weeks.”
“Everyone is just working really, really hard to get that place open so that the community can start enjoying the assets that they voted to start enjoying,” Mendisco said, referring to the ballot measure Hayden voters approved last November to increase sales tax by one cent, which is projected to raise $240,000 annually.
Hayden Mayor Zach Wuestewald said people are excited for the Hayden Center to open.
“I think a lot of people will appreciate that we didn’t just open the doors,” Wuestewald said. “I think when it is all said and done, people are going to appreciate that some initial steps were taken.”
The hiccup causing the delay is the broken air compressor, which is original from when the school was built in 1977. Without it, the heating system is just on or off, without any ability to regulate the temperature, but that should soon be fixed, Mendisco said.
“It was old, and it needed to be replaced,” he said. “It is things like that that we’re just running into, but I think it is going well. I keep saying (the opening is) tentative for March 15.”
Hayden also has hired a fitness director who Mendisco says has a long list of qualifications. They also have instructors lined up to teach fitness classes, and all the weights and other workout equipment has already been set up as well. Wi-Fi also has been added in all the rooms they will be using initially.
The center also will have a dance studio, which he said is funded through a variety of grants and will be built for about $20,000, complete with a sprung floor. A sprung floor looks like a traditional gym floor, but has some spring in it, making it safer for dancers. Mendisco said the first round of dance classes will be offered in late April and run for five or six weeks.
Hayden is looking to hire an owner’s representative to oversee construction on both the Hayden Center and the business incubator space on Walnut Street. Mendisco said they hope to have a request for proposals out by mid-March and a contractor on board to be able to start the first phase of renovations early this summer.
The town received a $500,000 Colorado Department of Local Affairs grant to use for renovations on the Hayden Center, but Mendisco said they would be applying for the grant again, as they just got half of the amount they applied for. This grant will help fund the first phase of construction.
The first phase will fix the roof and remodel spaces planned for Totally Kids and recreation, including a rock-climbing wall in the gym. It also will add some mechanical and ventilation upgrades to accommodate the remodeled spaces.
“When the construction happens, we will try at all ends not to be closed, we will just try to move things in sections,” Mendisco said.
Incubator Space on Walnut
Hayden has submitted a grant application for the new 135 Walnut Street business incubator space, and Mendisco said they feel confident about getting the grant. If they do, they would be able to fully fund the project.
Because the grant is from the Federal government, Mendisco said it can take a long time to go through the process of getting them. Currently, he said work on the space will likely start in spring 2022.
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The Community Health Benefit Fund through the Yampa Valley Medical Center Foundation has awarded 15 grants for 2022 totaling $340,000, given to 11 nonprofit organizations in Routt and Moffat counties.CommunityHealthGrants-sbt-052022