Town officials declared nearly a decade of work complete on Saturday as they unveiled approximately $3.5 million in additions to the Herndon Community Center.
Delayed for about two months due to contractor issues, the addition of almost 11,000 square feet was met with vocal appreciation and a few "oh’s" and "ah’s" from guests making their way through the automatic sliding glass doors from the center’s new entranceway.
This "just adds a great resource for the community," said Herndon resident Steve Williams, who came out on Saturday morning with his wife Cammi and children Makenzie, 6, and 6-month-old Donovan. "I’m just looking forward to seeing everything that they have to offer and everything that’s new."
The additions include a new "drop-in" child care center, extended class and meeting rooms, an extended fitness and weightlifting room and an increased number of parking spaces. The completion of the project means permanent office space for members of the Herndon Parks and Recreation Department, as well.
"I think the public is just really excited to come and see it," said Abby Kimble, a marketing specialist with Herndon’s Parks and Recreation Department. "There are just so many new things to come and check out … I think we will exceed everyone’s expectations."
One of the great things about constructing a new building is getting to incorporate new technology, Kimble said.
The Community Center is now equipped with several flat screen, high-definition televisions for its weight and activity rooms. Several "green building" efforts were also incorporated into the construction of the facility, as contractors used more "eco-friendly" materials and installed power-saving elements to things like light-switches, said Art Anselene, director of Herndon’s Department of Parks and Recreation.
THE COMPLETION of the project was a personal milestone for Anselene, who has seen it through over the course of the last nine years.
"This building has always been a kind of landmark for the community and there has always been a very strong connection with the residents and the community center," Anselene said while sitting in a brand-new leather chair in a conference room in the extended office wing of the center. "Whether it be for voting or for fitness, or for an activity for your child … we try and pull everyone in the community into the center over the course of the year."
When the town first decided to extend the center, it was to adjust to a growing population and a greater need for a facility that could meet the demands of a changing world, Anselene said.
"Stuff like step classes, pilates, that stuff didn’t exist 15 years ago, so we didn’t really have much space here for basic things like storage of the equipment that is needed," he said. "One of the greatest things is that all of this added space gives us more of an ability to offer these modern programs."
THE ADDITIONS will not just affect Town of Herndon residents, either. While residents of the Town of Herndon receive discounts on basic admission and class rates, about 75 percent of the center’s clientele come from outside the town’s borders, Anselene said.
With the added space and programs, the Community Center is projected to see an increase of at least 25 percent on average to its number of guests.
There will also more than likely be an increase in Community Center staff, as there has already been a large increase to the number of classes that will be offered in the new facility, according to Kimble. A new fitness trainer has already been hired, she added.
While an official ribbon-cutting will not be held until Jan. 7 due to the upcoming holiday season, Anselene said that he is relieved to have the project finally completed after several years of long-hours and planning.
"All of this new space makes it a lot more comfortable, a lot better place to come for community events … and a lot better place for us to come to work in the morning," he said. "It’s been a long time coming, I’ll tell you that."