GREAT FALLS — At city work session on Tuesday night, officials from the city of Great Falls and LPW Architecture discussed the timeline for the new Great Falls Aquatic & Recreation Center, as well as the reason for their chosen location.
The new proposed location – Lions Park at 2701 10th Avenue South – was recommended by Malmstrom Air Force Base, and the city said the main goal of the facility is to work with Malmstrom on their training needs, including water training exercises. The grant-funded project will cost an estimated $20.2 million, and will include a recreation pool, fitness space, and other amenities.
The location was also chosen over several other options because it is city property that is large enough for the building and parking, has the most favorable soils of all the options, and a lower foundation cost. It will also sit next to an existing playground, pavilion, and tennis court in the park, and present an overall better process for zoning for the city.
Officials from LPW said that the cost per square foot of the site’s foundation system is $40, which was the same as location option #2, Kiwanis Park, and significantly lower than option #1, an area on 57th Street North near the base.
Project managers estimated that the facility will officially allow occupancy beginning in May 2023 if the current timeline, which has construction slated to begin in September of this year, remains in place.
The next steps in the process include focus group meetings focused on the design of the facility and beginning consulting with electrical and mechanical contractors. The city plans to conduct focus group meetings as well, as well as meetings with community groups and a group that works with the park.