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Published April 01, 2010, 07:20 PM

Plans For New Center Court Fitness Facility Moving Forward

The "size" of the new Grand Forks Park District wellness facility will depend on funding.

By: Renee Chmiel, WDAZ

The "size" of the new Grand Forks Park District wellness facility will depend on funding. A project that they once pegged as a $25 million facility is now being planned as a $12 million wellness center. Park District Director John Staley says they've raised $7 million so far.

Time may be running out for Center Court Fitness, as plans to build a new facility to replace it move forward. The Park Board now hopes to build a 100,000 - 110,000 square foot facility. That's scaled down from plans in July of 2009 for a 150,000 - 200,000 square foot building. The plan now is to start smaller and add on.

"Approximately another 50,000 could be added, and then after that yet another 50,000 square feet, which would be in the distant future," said Staley.

The Park District wants the new facility to have an eight lane lap pool, an indoor track, and a large daycare area. There will be space for Altru, for the UND Women's Tennis Team, and for the USDA Human Nutrition Lab.

"We're going to be a very unique facility. I mean, you look at the human nutrition lab, it is the only national obesity research lab in the country," said Center Court Fitness General Manager Cam Tweten.

Tweten says the new facility will be nearly triple what this one is, and he says that having this new facility will be important to keeping people in Grand Forks.

A naming rights ceremony with Choice Financial in March brought $2.75 million toward the facility. And public fundraising will start in about a month. But a project that was once billed as a $25 million facility is now hoping to get to $12 million. Right now, the district only has $7 million. Still, Tweten says now is the time to go ahead with plans for the center.

"You look at phasing a project like this in because it's a great time to build these projects. The economic times have made it very competitive in the construction business," said Tweten.

The Park District hopes to start work on the new facility in August. It also got a $1.5 million donation for a hockey rink, which would be added to the new facility.