BOONE — County staff are getting closer to setting membership and rental fees for the Watauga County Recreation Center and are hiring employees for a potential mid-May opening.

During their Jan. 21 meeting, the Watauga County Board of Commissioners tabled discussion of the membership and rental fees for the rec center until their pre-budget retreat — taking place Feb. 13 and 14.

The commissioners were presented with a draft fee proposal by Watauga County Parks and Recreation Director Stephen Poulos. For Watauga County residents, the draft suggested daily rates of $10, $20 for a household (with up to two adults permanently residing at the same address with their minor children) and $6 for both seniors (62 and older) and youth (ages 2-17). Monthly rates for the same categories would range from $20 (seniors and youth), to $35 for individuals to $70 for households. An annual membership fee is proposed at $200 (seniors and youth), $350 for individuals and $700 for households. Children under the age of 2 are free, according to the proposed fees.

For non-county residents, the daily fee is proposed to be $15 for individuals, $30 for a household and $9 for both seniors and youth. Monthly rates for out-of-county patrons would range from $30 (seniors and youth), $53 for individuals to $105 for households. The annual membership fee is proposed at $300 (seniors and youth), $530 for individuals and $1,050 for households.

Patrons taking classes offered at the gym — like aerobics or Zumba — would not be required to pay an additional fee for those classes, Poulos said. However, those taking part in additional programs — such as registering for swim classes or participating in a basketball league — would need to pay an additional program fee. Poulos added that visitors do not have to be members of the center to take part in classes or programs.

The rec center will offer a gym with four multi-use courts, a competition swimming pool, a leisure pool and multi-purpose rooms. These amenities are rentable for various parties and events with prices varying depending on which amenity is being rented. Proposed hourly rental fees for members/residents range from $100 to $250 depending on the rental space. Hourly rental fees for non-members/non-residents are proposed from $150 to $375.

For example, renting one basketball court (with a maximum capacity of 30 people) would be $150 per hour for members/residents and would be $600 per hour for all four courts ($225 per hour each for non-members/non-residents). A pool party with two rental rooms for one hour and a two-hour pool party would be $250 per hour for members/residents and $375 per hour for non-members/non-residents.

Poulos said that the county is considering its options in terms of gym floor covering for events hosted in the gym space.

The Watauga Parks and Recreation department is hosting several job fairs to fill the positions it needs to operate the center. The job fairs are taking place at the department’s temporary office at 331 Queen St. from 4-6 p.m. on Jan. 30, from 7-10 a.m. on Feb. 7 and from 9 a.m.-noon on Feb. 8.

Positions include fitness instructors, summer camp counselors, senior programming assistants, home-school art and physical education instructors, head lifeguards, lifeguards, swim instructors, water fitness instructors, child care, front desk assistants, baseball and softball umpires as well as field supervisors, according to Poulos. According to the department, homeschool art and P.E. classes are a part of the rec center’s proposed programming, and it is still researching options for offering gymnastics.

To apply for a position at the rec center, vist Poulos added that people should monitor the Watauga Parks and Recreation department pages on Facebook and Twitter for additional updates about employment or program opportunities.

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