Boca's Swim and Racquet Center to remain open during renovations, officials say

December 17, 2015

Emily Miller Contact Reporter Sun Sentinel

Changes to Boca's Swim & Racquet Center will be done in phases so the facility can remain open, officials say

The Greater Boca Raton Beach & Park District has promised its Swim and Racquet Center will remain open while $2.7 million in renovations are completed at the site.

More than two dozen center members packed the district board room to capacity Monday to object to closing the center for longer periods during construction. The district plans to break ground in June and estimates the project will take nine months.

"This is really a major part of our lives," 22-year center member Jerome Reinert, 81, told the board. "I plead with you to please come up with a plan so that the courts can stay open and people who are employed there can remain employed."

Members worried a temporary closure would overlap with the tennis leagues' schedules and when use of the facility is at its peak. Others said it would be unfair to close the facility because members were not notified that there would be a closure when they paid their annual fees.

"I think a lot of people at the club are looking forward to the renovations," Boca resident Candace Donnelly said. "We would like to minimize the disruption. The timing is the main thing that concerns us. We have the largest number of members at the club during the [winter] months. We would like to be able to have [the construction] in the summer. Let us finish the league year and make other plans for the summer."

District executive director Arthur Koski told the crowd the district will wait until the off-season to complete the construction and will carry out the project in phases to avoid having to close the facility. Commissioner Robert K. Rollins Jr. assured center members the district "would be nothing less than fair to you with fees."

No changes have been made to the facility at 21618 St. Andrews Blvd. since the district bought it from a private developer in 2000 for $3.75 million, Koski said. The district first broached the idea of renovating the center about two years ago and put it in the budget this year.

Plans call for a 5,500-square-foot community center, new locker rooms, a tennis pro shop, vending machines and a covered seating area. The majority of the work will be the demolition of the former Chuck's Steak House, Koski said.

Koski said repaving the parking lot may result in a brief closure of the facility, but not for more than a few days. No renovations will be made to the existing tennis courts or lighting, he said.

Ultimately, center members left the meeting pleased with the outcome, clapping and thanking the commissioners on their way out.

Koski urged anyone with concerns or questions about construction at the facility to call the district at 561-417-4599.

emiller@tribune.com, 561-243-6531 or Twitter @EmilyBethMiller

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