The Opelika Sportsplex and Aquatics Center opened its doors to the public Monday, Aug. 31.
More than 50 people were waiting in line from 5 a.m. to 6:30 a.m. At the head of the crowd was Opelika Mayor Gary Fuller, who said he admires the new facility.
“The mayor is here at 4:45 a.m. every morning for his workout,” said Tim Gore, the Sportsplex director.
A plan for a recreation center in Opelika was started in 2000 by the community and a group called Invision 2000.
They held local and regional meetings to decide what they could do to impact their community, Gore said.
An ongoing debate pushed the building of a recreation center that would benefit everyone into overdrive.
“The cost for funding the facility was $32 million,” Gore said. “It’s the largest one-time project that the city of Opelika has undertaken.”
Some people and groups that helped fund the project were Cal James, The East Alabama Medical Center, The Hanwha, W. James Samford Jr., The Charter Foundation and Steel Lab.
“We have about 500 members now,” Gore said. “About 200 of 2,000 people to come in are college students. We also have a lot of athletes to come in, such as Bo Jackson, who came in recently to workout.”
The Sportsplex and Aquatics Center is not just a gym or recreation center. It’s a “life enhancement center,” Gore said.
“Once you see it you will see why,” Gore said. “Physically you will have new capabilities from working out in the cardiovascular center and the fitness room.”
The focus of the center is to enhance health, fulfill fitness goals, broaden cultural horizons and to provide a fun atmosphere where the community or special interest groups can come together to interact and participate in activities, according to the complex’s Web site.
The center has amenities like a splash park, two racquetball courts, an indoor aquatics center, a youth game room, a concession area, an outdoor walking trail, a gymnasium, an indoor walking track, three large meeting rooms with AV equipment, a warming kitchen, a cardiovascular area, a weight room, a group fitness room, an outdoor amphitheater, childcare and a soccer complex.
“People in the community say that now they have no excuses for not being active, because now we have a center in Opelika,” Gore said. “We are providing a facility that promotes health awareness.”
The rates for using the facility vary. In the adult activity center daily fees are $10 for a two hour gym session, $20 for an all day pass to all facilities and $4 per swimmer for public swim at advertised times.
Guests must be accompanied by a member.
“The facility is a good investment with awesome rates, and it’s affordable for students,” said Patrice Pitts, customer service representative for Sportsplex.
Single membership rates for residents are $28 a month and $37 a month for non-residents.
Anyone who lives outside the Opelika city limits will be charged 30 percent more than members.
There are also special fees for people who are not part of any membership plans.
The fees are $50 per week and $100 per month.