Lee's Summit Journal

Outdated center now state-of-art gathering spot Lee’s Summit fitness buffs of all ages

Scott Bilyeu of Lee’s Summit recently worked out at the newly renovated Longview Community Center. Bilyeu is one of more than 1,400 members who have joined the gym since it reopened in December.
Scott Bilyeu of Lee’s Summit recently worked out at the newly renovated Longview Community Center. Bilyeu is one of more than 1,400 members who have joined the gym since it reopened in December. Courtesy photo

In late December, the Lee’s Summit Parks and Recreation Department welcomed their community to a fully renovated Longview Community Center.

Purchased by the city from the Metropolitan Community College system early last September, the entire center, originally built in 1989, was renovated prior to the grand reopening. Spearheaded by the Parks and Recreation department, the full renovation project was completed in less than 15 weeks.

“From floor to ceiling, every square inch of the center was updated, remodeled or renovated,” said Joe Snook, Lee’s Summit Parks and Recreation Department administrator. “All of the renovations were done in-house. Without the contribution from all areas of the department, we wouldn’t have gotten this done in 15 weeks.”

Steve Thomas, assistant superintendent of Parks and Recreation construction and project’ manager, oversaw an extensive collaboration across several Parks and Recreation divisions to complete the physical renovation work. In addition, the department also hired and trained five new full-time staff members, 60 part-time staff, and an IT team for the facility during the renovation.

“We’d never purchased a facility to renovate,” said Snook, who has been a Parks and Recreation staff member for 18 years and administrator for the past two. “This was a challenging project, but one I’m as proud of as anything we’ve done in Lee’s Summit.”

Located on the Longview Community College campus, the 60,000 square-foot recreation facility has amenities for members of all ages and abilities. The center includes a gymnasium, indoor aquatics area, aerobics and cycle studios, walking track and $250,000 of new workout equipment recreation center. Childcare is also available.

Community response to the newly opened state-of-the-art center has been enthusiastic.

More than 1,400 new members joined within the first four weeks of opening, and Snook anticipates that number could reach 4,000 by the end of the year.

Nick Welty and his family were some of the center’s first members. Previously, Welty worked out at the Legacy Community Center on the east side of the city, until he and his daughter moved to Lee’s Summit’s west side.

“I was excited to hear that the outdated Longview college fitness center was being renovated by the city,” said Welty, who has lived in Lee’s Summit since childhood. “Now, I work out early in the morning with all new equipment and renovations — and it’s a two-minute drive from my house. The center’s a win-win on many fronts.

“What I like best is the true diversity and ability to meet and network with the people in this community,”

Snook said when planning the renovation, the focus was on creating an inviting, environment through the lighting and décor.

In the aquatics area, dim lighting was switched out with brighter and more efficient LED lights.

“I couldn’t believe the day we turned on the new lights in the pool area,” Snook said. “It was fantastic. The lighting is vastly brighter and has a huge impact on people’s participation, mood and frame of mind.”

After working out, members can purchase coffee, watch television or relax by the fireplace in the lobby.

“We knew there was a need for this opportunity for our residents on the west side of the city,” Snook said. “Now, we’re really able to serve this part of our city and community in a way we hadn’t been able to do before.”

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