Gypsum Rec Center eyes expansion, minimal pricing increase | VailDaily.com

Gypsum Rec Center eyes expansion, minimal pricing increase

GYPSUM — For the second year in a row, the Gypsum Recreation Center showed a bottom line profit in 2017.

The number isn't huge, but considering the fact that the operation was expected to require a subsidy from the town of Gypsum, it's a big deal to report that the facility came out $6,769 ahead in 2017. That comes after a surplus of $8,915 in 2016.

"We built the center expecting we would have to subsidize its operation every year," said Gypsum Town Manager Jeff Shroll.

Shroll noted that paying rec center subsidies are the norm for such operations, but even when Gypsum was helping cover the costs of the recreation center operation, it was paying a relatively modest sum. In 2015, the center needed a $53,018 subsidy, and the subsidy was $63,131 in 2014. Shroll noted the center was running in the black prior to the national recession and Gypsum paid off the rec center debt back in 2014.

Total revenues at the center were $1.2 million last year.

Western Eagle County Metropolitan Recreation District Gypsum Area Manager Scott Ruff said with expenses holding steady for the operation, the revenue increase represents more traffic.

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"We have never raised any of our dues so this is strictly a volume thing with us," Ruff said. He made his comments during a Gypsum Town Council meeting earlier this week.

'Crown Jewel'

"I call the Gypsum Rec Center the crown jewel of Gypsum," Ruff said.

The Gypsum Recreation Center is a busy spot. Last year, the center reported 132,948 membership scans. Winter is the busiest season at the facility, and 5 a.m. and 5 p.m. are the busiest check-in times.

"We have people waiting in line, before our staff even comes in to open the doors, at 5 a.m." Ruff said.

There are 4,303 members at the center, and those memberships generated $631,790 in revenues last year. That figure is up from $592,965 in 2016.

Ruff noted it costs $240 per hour, on average, to run the Gypsum Recreation Center. During the summer months, operations expand to include the Gypsum Creek Golf Club pool.

"The community absolutely loves that facility," said Ruff, referring to the outdoor pool at the golf course. However, he noted that capital improvements are looming at the site.

"It opened in '95. It is showing its age," he said.

Shroll agreed. "It was built as a private pool. WECMRD and the town are trying to get our arms around that pool. It is not cost effective to run it as it is right now."

Ruff noted as WECMRD examines future options for the community, the district conducted a survey in December to determine if community members were satisfied with the recreation center services. The results show that nearly 18 percent of respondents were "very satisfied" while 49 percent were "satisfied." While 23 percent indicated a neutral response, only 8 percent reported they were "dissatisfied" and only 1.4 percent were "very dissatisfied."

When asked about future improvements, respondents generally cited projects outside of the center:

• 37 percent — Complete multiuse trails to connect Eagle to Dotsero.

• 34 percent — Improve access to the Eagle River for recreation.

• 31 percent — Build additional paved trails.

• 30 percent — Expand camping opportunities.

• 30 percent — Expand fitness space at the Gypsum Recreation Center.

Eye toward expansion

Survey respondents also want group exercise classes included with membership charges and more fitness/wellness classes. One of those issues can be addressed by pricing; the other requires expansion.

Prices at the Gypsum Recreation Center have remained unchanged since it opened in 2006. Ruff said this month the WECMRD board will consider restructuring membership prices so that group classes and child water and tumble tots will be included in the base price.

"That would come with a very minimal price increase for memberships," Ruff said.

Ruff also plans to request $200,000 from the rec district board to expand the fitness center amenities. That will be the first expansion at the center since it opened 11 years ago, but it's a modest beginning.

"We have a wish list that is a mile long with expansion," Ruff said.

After 11 years, Shroll noted the town is prepared to look at a recreation center plan.

"An expansion fits right in with our master plan and what we anticipated all along," Shroll said. "It's a good problem to have."

Regardless of how expansion plans pan out in the future, Ruff stressed that the Gypsum Recreation Center will hold to its core identity.

"It is a family facility," he concluded.