Kent Commons will receive an $1.5 million upgrade over the next six months. COURTESY PHOTO, City of Kent

Kent Commons will receive an $1.5 million upgrade over the next six months. COURTESY PHOTO, City of Kent

City to begin major renovations at Kent Commons Community Center

Work on $1.5 million project to start soon to upgrade recreation facility

An $1.5 million renovation of the Kent Commons Community Center will make the city-owned recreation facility brighter, shinier and more inviting.

Work is expected to start March 18 at the 50,000-square-foot facility, 525 Fourth Ave. N. The center sits downtown just south of West James Street and accesso ShoWare Center and west of the Kent Station shopping center.

“We definitely need this renovation,” said Kent City Council President Satwinder Kaur after the council unanimously approved the renovations bid at its Feb. 20 meeting. “With the update, it’ll be so much more inviting and an exciting place to be.”

Construction crews will demolish and replace existing finishes at the entry reception and information counter, back-of-house staff open offices, public corridors, public restrooms, conditioning rooms, locker rooms and viewing areas of existing racquetball courts, according to city documents.

Other work includes re-plumbing of obsolete plumbing fixtures and area drains, creating private enclosure shower stalls, installing a new family restroom and revising and updating wiring and lighting fixtures.

The work is needed because the facility was built in 1979 and is 45 years old, said Will Moore, city facilities superintendent, in his report to the council.

“The new lobby will have an enhanced entrance and there will be new flooring throughout,” Moore said. “The theme is playing off a city with mountains and a river.”

New glass doors will allow people to see into the gym from the corridor.

“Right now, it’s closed off space,” Moore said. “It opens it up a lot.”

Crews will install a window at the weight room.

“So (now people) can know we have one,” said Moore, who added the weight room also will be expanded with new equipment to draw in more people.

“It’s way overdue for that building,” Councilmember Bill Boyce said about the renovation. “I’m happy to see the upgrades will bring us to modernization.”

City Parks Director Julie Parascondola looks forward to the changes.

“It still has many older style community center elements that new community centers don’t have in today’s designs, such as clear site lines, vibrancy of design and colors and/or open space concepts,” Parascondola said in an email.

The facility offers programs and classes for youth and adults, a fully-equipped gym and fitness center, and numerous rooms and spaces to reserve for events of all sizes. Residents are looking to Kent Commons for more opportunities.

“We’ve seen expanded use of the center by our residents, as population continues to increase here in Kent, which we love to see, so we needed to make some improvements to help us continue to provide the quality programs and experiences we are known for, while still preserving this city facility,” Parascondola said.

Changes during construction

The project is scheduled to start demolition on March 18.

“At this time, we believe the renovation will take around six months and we’ll reopen those areas again in early fourth quarter,” Parascondola said. “We do anticipate being able to open the hallways back up for interior access to impacted classrooms and the gymnasium, at some point earlier than the completion of the project, but we need to get the project moving first to understand final timelines.”

Kent Commons will stay open during construction.

“We are asking all of our users for grace and patience as they will have to navigate around detours, or go to different locations, etc.,” Parascondola said.

The front lobby, hallways, front restrooms, weight room, locker rooms and racquetball courts will be closed for the majority of the renovation.

The Green River Room and gymnasium will stay open for programming but will only be accessible from the outside of the building.

“We’re planning to have temporary restroom facilities outside for patrons and the other set of restrooms inside the building will still be open and available,” Parascondola said.

City staff has set up a temporary front desk/lobby space at the entrance to the left of the main entrance, which is closer to Fourth Avenue North.

Parascondola said because city recreation staff members, who have offices at the Commons and are losing several programming rooms, that will cause an impact to programming, primarily in the Adaptive Recreation programs.

“We are shifting around rooms and also using the Senior Center as extra space as well, for example, our Friday night Studio 315 Adaptive Recreation Program will now be at the Senior Center for the duration of the remodel,” she said.

11 project bids

Seattle-based Boyce Construction submitted the lowest responsive bid of $1.5 million (including tax) out of 11 bids, according to city documents. The monies will come from the city’s capital budget.

Despite the same name, Councilmember Boyce said at the meeting that he has no connection to the company.

Moore, the city facilities superintendent, said it was one of the largest number of bidders Kent has received for a project.

Councilmember Zandria Michaud cannot wait to see the improvements.

“It is dark and enclosed so this will really brighten it up and open it up,” Michaud said.

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The renovations at Kent Commons will include an expanded weight room with new equipment. COURTESY PHOTO, City of Kent

The renovations at Kent Commons will include an expanded weight room with new equipment. COURTESY PHOTO, City of Kent

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