Rutland’s newest recreation center is already jumping.

Kim Peters, superintendent of the Rutland Recreation and Parks Department, told the Board of Aldermen this month that since the city leased the College of St. Joseph gymnasium — which has been re-christened the Rutland Rec Community Center — the building has been regularly packed.

“With the mall closing, literally the day we opened, it has become a necessity,” she said, referring to how “mall walking” at Diamond Run Mall was a popular form of exercise until the mall closed Nov. 1. “We open at 8. At 8:05, I have 20 walking.”

Peters said they quickly found that demand was enough to keep the building open all day, and hours have been set at 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday. The department instituted $2 day passes and $10 monthly passes for the facility, with students in sixth grade and younger getting in free.

“My goal was 100 memberships,” she said. “We’re only into week three and we have 180 memberships. We want to keep it as open as possible. We don’t want to over-program it.”

Peters said they have set up fitness, movement and game rooms in addition to racquetball courts.

“The racquetball courts are multi-use,” she said. “You can go play dodgeball. ... What I’m finding is, a lot of things are just happening organically.”

The city rented the facility in partnership with the city school district, which needed a space for basketball while its courts are under repairs from late-summer vandalism.

Peters said a lot of equipment has been donated, but they are still looking for a number of items, including cardio machines, a squat rack, a flat bench and a bar for the fitness room as well as arcade games for the game room.

The city’s lease on the building runs through March. Mayor David Allaire has indicated that the city may consider purchasing it at that time. Peters said the building has had some problems — they’ve been fixing leaks and doors as they go, and she said the city would need a long-term plan for those issues. She also said though the phone system can call out, calls still can’t come in.

gordon.dritschilo@rutlandherald.com

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