Partnered for Wellness
Platte County Community Center South
As the saying goes, two heads are better than one, and it certainly proved true for this Kansas City-area facility that blends the strengths of two like-minded community organizations.
Funding for the $10 million-plus project was raised by Platte County Parks and Recreation through a voter-approved capital improvement sales tax, while programming and operation is provided by the YMCA of Greater Kansas City. Together, they created something that neither could have provided alone.
"I think it's a landmark project for those on the outside of the community looking in," said Mark Hulet, programming and operations consultant for the YMCA of Greater Kansas City.
"It's been a raving success," agreed Brian Nowotny, director of Platte County Parks and Recreation. "A lot of members know it just as the Y, and that's OK."
Nowotny believes one of the reasons it has been so well received is because members of the community participated in its planning. And in a quickly growing area historically lacking in a family center like this, the wish list was pretty long—but not unreasonable.
"What people wanted most was aquatics, wellness space, family space, especially youth," Nowotny said.
The two-story, 57,150-square-foot facility checked all these things off of the planning list.
The busy first floor contains a wellness area boasting the latest in fitness, strength and computerized training equipment; a natatorium with full-size family pool, zero-depth entry, interactive spray features, unique water landscaping, a waterslide and a lazy river that swirls into a circular vortex at one end and goes under showers of water at the other; age-appropriate activity areas such as the Adventure Center, Kids' Gym, indoor playground, Child Watch and multigenerational center; a sauna and steam room; and the children's party room off the pool deck.
Head up the dramatic open stairway, and you'll find the 1/8-mile walking and running track that encircles the entire building with outstanding views into every activity space. The track also offers commanding exterior views of the surrounding property.
Other spaces on the second floor include an aerobics studio, yoga studio, massage and personal fitness room, a library and additional expanded fitness areas.
What's the most popular spot?
"Definitely the pool," Nowotny said. "Kids love it. It's a fun pool. It's a joy to be able to see them use it."
Besides packing a lot into one space, the architects did it with a stunning design that respects the environs.
"Platte is known for its rivers and parks and … that piece was prevalent in the design," Hulet said.
The experience begins even before you enter. Curved, colored concrete elements reflect the area's many rivers and pick up on the inside.
"When you come in the door, the terrazzo floor maintains that same river pattern and flows all the way to the back of the facility," Hulet explained.
In addition, exterior brick colors and window treatments complement a surrounding retail and restaurant development under construction around the facility.
In fact, the project wouldn't have succeeded without this large surrounding development. The property was actually donated by the developer.
"He knew it would be a big benefit for his development," Nowotny explained.
With a restaurant, dry cleaner, optometrist, grocery store and coffee shop, the synergies make it a convenient one-stop shop that drives traffic both ways.
"It works," Nowotny said.
So, it seems, three heads are even better than two.