Work will soon get underway to finalize plans for a long-anticipated community recreation center in Pauls Valley.

Paving the way this week was a move by the local city council, which voted to enter into a contract with the Oklahoma City firm of Crafton, Tull and Sparks for engineering and architectural services needed for the planned center.

“They’ve been on board with us from the outset,” City Manager James Frizell said.

“They drew up the preliminary plans for the center, and they’re working on finalizing the drawings.”

Those plans are an essential part of the project if a fall target date is met for the start of construction in the local Wacker Park.

“We’re hoping to break ground by September,” Frizell said.

Plans call for a 36,000-plus square foot recreation center that includes a double gymnasium, an elevated indoor walking/running track, a weight and cardiovascular training room, an aerobics room, a multi-purpose room, day care facilities, indoor and outdoor play areas, a birthday room, common areas, locker rooms, snack bar, front desk, offices, storage and mechanical areas along with all of the necessary furniture and equipment to operate the facility.

The center is expected to be operated by a two- to four-member full-time staff and 10 to 30 part-time employees.

Members of a local rec committee began working more than four years ago to make the center a reality.

Their work culminated with a presentation last October by committee members Allen Eubanks and Frizell before the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation Board of Trustees in Las Vegas, Nev.

Several weeks later officials with the foundation announced Pauls Valley had been selected to receive a grant of just under $8 million to pay for the center’s construction.

Original plans included an outdoor swimming pool as part of the overall rec center project.

Those plans later changed when the projected costs began to increase over time.

However, an effort is already underway to raise the private funds needed to pay for the pool.

Anyone wanting to donate to the pool fund should contact city hall.

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