Village leaders held a groundbreaking for a new gymnasium at the Corrales Recreation Center this week. And village workers will soon begin preliminary work to prepare the site for construction – even though not all of the funding is in place to pay for it.

“This is shovel ready,” said Lynn Siverts, the village’s parks and recreation director. “The design is done, and we do have two-and-a-half million dollars ready to go.”

But that’s $1.7 million short of what’s needed to finish the building.

“That’s because everything has gone up so much,” he said of construction costs. “A few years ago ($2.5 million) would have been enough to build it.”

Siverts said he expects the rest of the funding to come through eventually. The village is awaiting word on some of the grants it has applied for. There’s also hope money will be allocated to the project during this year’s legislative session, which begins Jan.17.

The current gym, built about 25 years ago, has proven to be inadequate.

“It’s just really small,” Sivert said.

At roughly 42 by 52 feet, the gym is too small to fit the dimensions of a regulation volleyball court. Even at that size, youth basketball teams have to share the court to conduct practices.

“You really can’t run basketball practices on half a court,” he said, also noting that parents have to stand along the walls when they come to watch their kids play.

Siverts said the gym was designed to accommodate only half a basketball court with one goal on the west side. The village put goals on the north and south sides instead, so youth games could be played on a full court.

“I think it was just what they could afford at the time,” he said of the existing gym, which was built in 1998 soon after the village acquired the property. 

The village’s recreation center includes an outdoor basketball court, soccer field, skateboard park, tennis courts, horse arena, bocce ball court, sand volleyball court and swimming pool. And it’s still not enough.

“Pickleball has kind of blown up in this town,” Siverts said of probably the fastest growing sport in America right now.

Three pickleball courts have been configured on the outdoor basketball court and can fit one inside the existing gym, but Siverts said that’s not enough to accommodate demand.

The plan now is for the existing gym to be converted into an exercise room.

The new building is designed to be more than 11,000 square feet it total. The gymnasium will be 72 by 116 feet, or 8,352 square feet. The addition will include bathrooms and locker rooms taking up 2,816 square feet of space.

Siverts said the new gym should be big enough for the youth basketball league teams to practice and play. It also opens up the opportunity to start a volleyball league, he said.

Siverts said the village will begin excavating work at the site next week. Construction is expected to be completed in about a year.

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