A facelift for the Rec-Plex
St. Peters recreation center gets improved parking and entrance while preparing for new outdoor aquatic center
By Brett Auten
January has long been the month when people look turn over a new leaf and start anew. Out with the bad and in with the good, as they said.
There are few better places in St. Charles County to begin that new lease on life than the St. Peters Rec-Plex. For those who have been away for a while, when returning to the Rec-Plex this month they were greeted with a slew of improvements and a facelift to its entrance.
Built 22 years ago, the St. Peters Rec-Plex – located at 5200 Mexico Road, next to St. Peters City Hall at the corner of Mexico Road and St. Peters Centre Boulevard – was due for some improvements. Backed by Proposition P, when voters approved a four-tenths of a cent sales tax increase for parks, trails and storm water management projects, the project broke ground over the summer and was wrapped up just before the holiday season.
The bulk of the project consisted of better accessibility including; more parking and parking closer to the main doors, more handicapped-accessible parking (five extra spots to make it 12 total) larger, and more convenient areas for pick-up/drop-offs.
Rick Oloteo, who serves as Group Manager for Recreation & Cultural Services for the city of St. Peters, said fulfilling the need was an obvious one.
“We have been busier and busier over the years with youth sports and parents want to be able to wait for their children and do so in a safe location,” Oloteo said. “We also have a lot of seniors who come here. We needed more parking that was on the same level as the front door. Previously, it was a pretty steep hill to walk from the parking into the building. So we wanted more handicapped parking and more spaces in general closer to the door.”
The new construction also added a smoother flow of traffic in and out of the facility, especially those looking to access Rec-Plex South.
In the coming weeks, once inside, visitors will be able to take advantage of a plethora of new cardio machines that will come in and replace some of the older equipment.
“These are going to be great additions,” Oloteo added. “Other than that, this year is going to be pretty quiet.”
It won’t be silent for long as the construction crews will fire up the machinery again thanks to another recent proposition. Passed on Aug. 2, Proposition Q was $12 million bond issue with no tax increase to pay for an outdoor aquatic center (also a St. Peters Golf Course club house and banquet/community center) that will be near and will share the parking lot with Rec-Plex South.
The aquatic center will be located right next to Rec-Plex South (along the existing park trail) and will feature a lazy river, deck slides, “zero entry” beach, shade structures, spray grounds, and eight-lane competition pool, lap swimming, and a party pavilion. A new access road from Rec-Plex & Aquatic Center to Boone Hills Drive.
“We have closed down two pools due to age and the cost it would take to put into them to keep them open,” Oloteo said. “It was time to open a modern, centrally-located pool.”
Few places have all the facilities that the Rec-Plex has to offer, from a world-class natatorium for swimming and diving to NHL-size ice rinks to state-of-the-art fitness machines and an indoor track.
Built in 1994, the Rec-Plex opened to the U.S. Olympic Festival’s aquatic events. For its 10-year anniversary, the Rec-Plex played host to the 2004 U.S. Olympic Diving Trials. In 2007, the Rec-Plex nearly doubled in size to 236,000 square feet with an expansion that added the Rec-Plex South facility and tripled the space for workout facilities in the original Rec-Plex building.
“The Rec-Plex is always moving forward, Oloteo said. “In 2019 we will celebrate 25 years and we are just as modern and updated now as we were then.”
CUTLINE: Submitted photos
Cover-Recplex1 Improvements to the entrance of the St. Peters Rec-Plex include new landscaping and improved parking and accessibility.
Cover-Recplex2 St. Peters Mayor Len Pagano gestures toward the improvements at the St. Peters Rec-Plex during the ribbon-cutting ceremony.