By: Diane Emeott Korzen Contributing Writer
Things have sure changed since Chucks Steak House and a private club with a pool occupied the property at 21618 St. Andrews Blvd. where the new Boca Raton Swim & Racquet Center was recently opened during a ribbon cutting.
The Greater Boca Raton Beach & Park District bought the property in 2000, needing a facility to house aquatics, for expanding camp needs, and the needs of the community.
From Oct. 20, 2017 to Aug. 9, the Beach & Park District has been building a new, two-story, state-of-the-art Swim & Racquet Center combined with an office building. No building was demolished during construction. There never was an official center, according to the Beach & Park District.
Mummaw & Associates did the design and MDS the construction on the project.
The spacious main building where the Beach & Park District now holds its meetings (instead of the tight quarters of Sugar Sand Park Conference Room, which holds about 40 people) is located where Chucks Steak House was. Beach & Park District staff has also relocated its offices to the main building.
The pro-shop was also renovated and the maintenance building is a new building that replaced a trailer as part of the project.
The ribbon cutting ceremony took place at 9:45 a.m. Saturday, July 20, in front of the new Boca Raton Swim & Racquet Center. Prior to the ribbon cutting, a few official words were said to those gathered in an event tent out front at 9:30 a.m.
Attendees were then free to tour both facilities during a Recreation Services free Open House Event that began at 10 a.m. Activities and demonstrations, DJ music, food trucks, bounce houses, life-size games, arts & crafts, and free pool admission were event highlights.
The July Ribbon Cutting & Free Open House was Part 2 of “Boca Parks & Recreation Month” offerings. Part 1 was a RECreate Boca Raton public kick-off meeting on Thursday, June 13 at the Downtown Library.
The much-anticipated grand opening of the Swim & Racquet Center brought out all of the five Beach & Park District Commissioners, Mayor Scott Singer and Council Members Monica Mayotte and Andrea Levine O’Rourke from Boca City Council.
Also in attendance were Interim Executive Director of the Beach & Park
District Briann Harms, former Executive Director/current Golf Course Manager Art Koski, current Executive Assistant JoAnn Miller, retired longtime Board Secretary Madlane “Maddy” Bentivegna, Facilities Manager Melissa Dawson, Parks & Recreation Director Michael Kalvort, and members of the public.
Former Beach & Park District Commissioner from 2004 to 2016 Earl
Starkoff came out for the event. As did Palm Beach County Commissioner Robert Weinroth.
Council Member Jeremy Rodgers’ wife Mandy brought their four kids to the ceremony, to take a closer look at the new Swim & Racquet Center, pro-shop, and to play in the Kidz Zone.
The Swim Center offers a 25-yard-long, six-lane swimming pool that is cooled during the summer and heated in winter. It also has a kiddie pool, an outdoor Jacuzzi, an ADA-compliant chair lift, new bathrooms to change in, and a large downstairs windowed room where different entities from around the city had information booths set up that day.
New features include a Splash Pad and interactive playground out back from the Swim Center, picturesquely located on a lake. Families were tossing beanbags in a game of Cornhole and building Jenga block creations on the front lawn.
A scenic bridge transports tennis enthusiasts across more water to play on 26 impressive Har Tru courts.The Racquet Center building has been renovated to include a pro-shop with tennis gear, a front desk person, and indoor and outdoor gathering area.
Free sessions with a pro were offered the day of the ribbon cutting. A group of women hosted a table outside giving away tennis-related freebies and signing passers by up for a a raffle.
For more information, go to www.theracquetcenter.org/swim-center, call 561-544-8540 Ext. 1, or email Aquatics@ci.boca-raton.fl.us