You Have Questions, We Have Answers!

Everyone is excited and we realize you probably have a lot of questions about the new Rec Center.  Check out our FAQs below.  If you don't find an answer to your question, don't hesitate to contact us at 507.437.3448 or email


How was the site chosen?

The two most important factors in selecting the site were location and space. The partners involved wanted a central location, and there needed to be enough land to accommodate the building and the parking to support it. The central location is important because many children who will use the rec. center will walk, skateboard, and bicycle to get there.


What is the building going to look like?

A design committee is working with architects to determine that now. Floor plans are attached, but exterior finishes and colors have not yet been selected.


Is there architectural significance to this building?

The architects are paying close attention to the civic nature of the facility, to its unique setting on the banks of the Mill Pond and Cedar River, as well as to the character of its neighboring buildings and the buildings throughout the downtown.


Why didn’t you build it someplace else?

Initial evaluation included over 30 sites. Space and central location were the primary factors that led to the selection of the site.


Who pays for the demolition of the power plant?

Austin Utilities is responsible for demolishing the buildings on the site.


Will any part of the power plant be retained?

No. The cost of repurposing existing facilities to use in the new building was examined and determined to be prohibitive.


Can you expand on this site?

Yes! The design of the building allows for significant future expansion to the east of the planned initial building.


Will local contractors be involved?

The volunteers involved in overseeing the general contractor will do everything possible to insure that local contractors have the opportunity to bid on appropriate parts of the project.


Who’s the architect?

BWBR is the design firm working on the design of this project. They have extensive experience in a variety of projects including recreation centers.


Who is the general contractor?

McGough, a Minnesota based contractor.


When does construction start?

Anticipated ground breaking is to occur mid-2018.


When will it be done?

Many variables can impact this date, but a late 2019 grand opening is the target. 



Who decided what was going to be in this building?

After receiving input from hundreds of community members through surveys, listening sessions, and focus groups, and evaluating the needs of all of the partners, volunteers serving on the Community Recreation Center’s Building and Program Committees worked with the architects to determine the facility components.


Who’s going to decide what to call it?

Volunteers are currently considering the name for the facility. Ultimately, as the city will own the building, they will have the opportunity to approve a recommended name.


How many pools will there be?

Two pools are planned.  One pool will be dedicated to lap swimming, swimming lessons, and aquatics classes.  The second pool will be a family aquatics center with water features and a zero depth entry.  They will be available to the public through a rec center membership or day passes.  Both of which will be available for a reasonable fee.


Will there be a hot tub?



How big will the new fitness center be?

Over 5,800 ft3, that’s more than twice the space that the Y currently has in its fitness center.


Will you need to have a membership to attend group fitness classes?

Some classes may be available to non-members for a fee, more information about this will be released at a later date.


Is the running track large enough that true runners will have the ability to go at full speed?

The track will be about 50% wider than the current Y track and just a bit smaller than the dome track. Track stars, will probably not be able to run at top speed. Not because of the width, but because there are turns that wind both directions and there will be additional "traffic" (walkers, etc.) For the average person who runs for their fitness, this will be a very good place to run when the weather is bad.


How many gyms will be in the new facility?

There will be a double gym for youth and a double gym for families.


Will there be tennis and racquetball courts included?

The recreation center will include a double sized family gym which will have a multi-purpose floor. This gym could accommodate tennis lessons or games.  There will be a limited number of hours each week available for tennis, by reservation.  There will not be any racquetball courts in the new recreation center.


Will there be the ability to play volleyball in the facility?

Volleyball will be available in both gymnasiums.


Will personal trainers be available?



Will there be a youth center?

There is a youth center which will serve children and teens. It will include tutoring, craft space, game tables, a computer lab, and more!


Will there be babysitting available for my children while I use the facility?

Yes!  There will be child watch area at the new rec center for your children while you use the facility.  Possible fees for this service have not yet been determined.


Will there be child care at the new facility?

Yes.  The new facility will have school age child care for the after school and summer hours.  At this time there will not be infant or toddler care.


Will the facility have family and private locker room space?

Yes, there will be Family/Special Needs locker rooms.


How big is the parking lot?

116 spaces


Will there be public meeting rooms available for rent?

Rooms will be available to rent by rec center members, non-members and the community.


Will there be food and beverage service available?

Vending machines will be available.


Where will the main entrance be?

There will be main entrances facing the parking lot to the west and 4th Ave. to the south.



What types of rec center memberships will be available?

Memberships have not yet been determined, but there will likely be a variety of options such as individual, family, youth, etc.


What will the rates be for a rec center membership?

Rates have not yet been selected, but the rec center board will attempt to create affordable to allow all to access the building.  This while ensuring successful, continued operation of the facility.


Can you use the facility with a day pass?

Yes, day passes will be available for purchase to use the facility for those who do not have a membership.  Day pass rates have not yet been set and will be released at a later date.


Do you need to have a membership to use the building?

No. You can purchase day passes to use the building.


Will any of it be free to the public?

Yes! The youth center and indoor playground will be free to Austin area residents to use.


Why aren’t more parts of the building free?

While it would be wonderful to have an entirely free facility, there are costs associated a facility like this.  Even the free areas need to be paid for somehow and there is no tax revenue or subsidies for this project to pay for free areas.  Because of this, we need to charge for use of the building by either day passes or membership to sustain the great amenities and programs.



Who will own it?

Once built, the City of Austin will take ownership of the new recreation center.


Who will run the rec center?

The YMCA will lease the building from the City and operate the rec center.


Why isn’t the Y building this on their own?

Many in the community wanted this center to bring more collaboration to meet the recreational needs of the Austin area. By creating a partnership between the City of Austin, Austin Public Schools, Riverland College, the YMCA of Austin and others, the rec center can serve our community better.


Is this just a new YMCA?

No.  The rec center is a partnership between many different organizations in the community. The partnerships will allow the rec center to offer more services and the lowest possible fees. The YMCA will have a role in this new facility but it is not just a new YMCA.


What is the city paying for this building?

The City of Austin will pay nothing for the construction or future purchase of this building. The City has committed to pay $100,000 per year toward the operating costs of the youth center and the indoor playground.


What is the total cost of the project?

Including land acquisition, design fees, construction, furnishings, and equipment, the total cost will be between $35-40 million.


Will there be a public oversight group running this?

The board will be made up of local volunteers representing the community and will be responsible for operating this facility.


How many people will be employed?

Approximately 175 people will work there.


Who will be the employer of the rec center employees?

The Y will employ the rec center workers. There may be times when the Parks and Recreation Department, or the School District, or another entity will run programs there. The employees in charge of those programs would work for the partner organization.


Is taxpayer money being used on this?

Tax dollars are not being sought for this project.


Will building this raise my taxes?



How many people will this serve?

Market research projects approximately 7,300 people using the facility annually. The building is designed to serve many more than that number.


Will there be scholarship help available for membership?

Yes. More information will be released at a later date.


What’s going to happen to the old Y building?

The current Y building will be put up for sale. The Y has committed over $600,000 (mostly from the anticipated proceeds of the sale of the existing Y building) to the construction project.



How much do you need to raise from the community?

$5-10 million.


What’s the time frame for the fundraising campaign?

The campaign is currently underway with planning and the community-wide effort will begin in the spring 2018.


How long will the pay-out period be for my pledge?  Can I do it over a number of years?

Yes. We anticipate that many gifts will be given over a 3 or 5 year period.


Is the building going to be named for a big donor? Or someone in the community?

The facility name is currently being discussed.


Are there naming rights involved with donations at a certain level?

Yes. Major parts of the building may be named for donors. A current list of available naming opportunities is available at the campaign office.


How will donors be recognized?

All donors will be recognized in print advertisements and grand opening programs. Donors who give $2,500 or more will be recognized on a permanent display in the new facility.


What’s the Hormel Foundation contributing?

The Hormel Foundation has pledged $25 million.


What’s the Hormel Corporation contributing?

 Hormel Foods has pledged $5 million.


What is the City of Austin contributing to this project?

The City has committed to pay $100,000 per year toward the operating costs of the youth center and the indoor playground.


What’s the Y contributing to this project?

The Y has pledged over $600,000 to this project as well as significant in-kind resources toward the planning, design, and fundraising for the facility.