South Lake Tahoe Recreation & Swim Complex renovation moves forward |

South Lake Tahoe Recreation & Swim Complex renovation moves forward

Sebastian Foltz
Built in 1975, the current Recreation & Swim Complex has seen little change in its 40-year history. City officials will host their second community input workshop later this month to discuss potential rennovation plans.
Sebastian Foltz / Tahoe Daily Tribune |

SOUTH LAKE TAHOE — From the estimated $170,000 in annual heating and utility costs to the patches in the once state-of-the-art swimming pool roof, it’s hard to argue that the under-used, over 40-year-old, South Lake Tahoe Recreation & Swim Complex is in need of a facelift.

It’s a need that the city is hoping to address through a potential renovation and expansion proposal.

“The need is definitely there,” city public works director Jim Marino said, describing the building off of Rufus Allen Boulevard that has largely gone without significant renovations for over 30 years. “We have a facility that’s reaching the end of its lifespan.”

The city will host its second public input workshop Thursday, March 31, from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the recreation center to continue the discussion.

“This workshop is an important opportunity for the community to help the city develop ideas,” city spokeswoman Tracy Franklin said in a press release.

The recreation department hosted its first workshop last December, together with members of the architectural design firm Williams + Paddon — the group contracted to create proposed design concepts.

The meeting presented a host of suggestions to make the facility more state-of-the-art and appealing to visitors and residents alike. Initial suggestions included improving the existing swimming pool and climbing wall along with more outlandish proposals, like ninja training inspired by the game show “American Ninja Warrior.”

Presenting a more welcoming access point from Highway 50 was also discussed. Marino and others suggested that the current facility is relatively hidden and less known as a result.

In preparation for the end of March meeting, city and recreation department staff will review existing public comments in an effort to produce a list of proposed amenities.

“We’re weighing those requests with what actually can be built within the site confines,” Marino said, referring both to the location limitations and restrictions imposed by the Tahoe Basin’s governing agencies.

“We need to start trimming down the wish list,” he added.

The project is still in its initial stages. Designers will take community feedback from this month’s meeting and present proposed design concepts later this year.

“Exactly what a renovated complex might look like will be determined by the design consultants through the community input process,” city recreation manager Lauren Thomaselli said.

She described the proposed renovation as a “priority project” based on recommendations from the city’s Parks, Trails and Recreation Master Plan.

Early projections put the cost of the project at around $25 million, with fund sources to be determined at a later date.

“City council is going to talk about ways to raise money,” councilman Austin Sass said at the December workshop, suggesting a potential ballot measure for funding proposals.

Designers are expected to develop two or three concepts that would accommodate varying cost options. Any expansion could potentially occur in phases. A timeline for approval and construction has yet to be determined.

More information is available at

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