Originally created 12/26/96

Odell Weeks improvements expected complete by March



AIKEN - City-funded improvements being made to the Odell Weeks Recreation Center are "progressing well," city officials said Tuesday.

Terry Rhinehart, director of Aiken Parks and Recreation, said the expansion of the center's multi-purpose walking track is finished, but renovations to the facility itself have yet to be completed.

The City Council in February allocated $1.7 million to expand the recreational facility and $62,983 to extend and widen the multi-purpose track.

Mr. Rhinehart expects the project to be complete in March.

"I'm keeping my fingers crossed," he said. "We've still got a ways to go."

Mr. Rhinehart said earlier this year that the expanded center would accommodate its growing basketball and volleyball program.

Between 1993 and 1994, parks and recreation hosted 111 youth and 15 adult basketball teams at the center. That number jumped this year to 144 youth teams and 17 adult teams.

"You've got people interested in participating in recreational activities, and either you limit the season to games or participation," Mr. Rhinehart said. "We're not interested in limiting participation for recreational activities - especially for the youth."

The 26,000-square-foot center will measure 45,000 square feet after construction. It's also expected to consist of two new gymnasiums, expanded locker rooms and a multi-purpose room, office and restrooms.

The city council hired H.G. Reynolds Co., an Aiken business, to head the project.

Mr. Rhinehart said the floor for the gymnasium is complete, but the scoreboard needs to be hung and the bleachers need completion.

The multi-purpose track was extended a week ago to a mile and widened from 8 to 12 feet. The track was previously 149 feet short of a mile.