City Council Approves Architectural Research for New Chaska Community Center | chaska

Chaska City Council, by a 5-0 vote, approved a major breakthrough for the Chaska Community Center Master Plan on December 6, signaling the search for an architect for potential expansion and major improvements to the center.

The project, which would define a future vision and reinvestment, would start at the end of February 2022.

“For city government, it’s really fast,” Mayor Mark Windschitl said at the council meeting.

The 210,000 square foot, 30 year old building is one of the largest community centers in the country. The community center currently has a fitness center, indoor pool with waterslides, track, outdoor wading pool, two-lane skating rink, indoor playground with daycare for members and a theatre. There’s also an art gallery, senior center, gift shop, and several rented spaces.

“This facility has truly served the community tremendously over these 30 years as the primary gathering place here in Chaska. But the thing is, he’s 30 years old,” parks and recreation manager Marshall Grange said at the meeting. “We’re starting to see major components of the facility fail.”

Developing a plan would allow city staff to be more proactive with upgrades.

Grange said the masterplan could include a teen center, pickleball area or esports, reflecting changes in recreation trends over the decades. Different parking or a modified campus layout are also on the table.

“Things like fitness and working out (are) much more popular now,” he said. “But it really wasn’t at the forefront of the facility’s design when it was first built.”

Knowing what to incorporate into the potential new space requires input, according to Grange and councillors.

A consultation group made up of a citizen task force, city and school staff and members of the community center will meet on several occasions to express wishes or concerns.

People can apply to be part of the task force across the city before January 30.

The city will also send out a community-wide survey, hold open houses and work sessions, and likely create an informative website about the project.

Grange said staff at the community center had already taken an inventory of the items. It includes the life expectancies of large items and what they would cost to replace them. Mechanical and technical upgrades, security, and ADA accommodations are yet to be visited.

Doing all of these projects in one saves money, adviser Mike Huang said, and provides a better return on investment.

“This one excites me a lot because it really kicks off something that we’ve been working towards for the past year,” city administrator Matt Podhradsky said during the meeting.

“It will be interesting to see how we can utilize a fairly full space,” Windschitl said. “I think it will be an interesting reinvestment in the community to see what plays out and what comes out of the master plan.”

RJM Construction, based in Golden Valley, would manage construction processes.

Jill E. Washington