AJ Smith Recreation Center to be dedicated in January
The doors to the new Tecumseh AJ Smith Recreation Center are close to officially opening with crews quickly preparing the building for a Thursday, Jan. 17, 2013 ribbon cutting dedication.Opening festivities begin at 4 p.m. with tours of the new facility, located at 810 Evans Street, followed by the dedication and ribbon cutting at 5 p.m. Light refreshments will be served until 6 p.m.The new rec center is expected to be complete by the Christmas holidays and Tecumseh Director of Cultural and Leisure Services Shelly Lim said the transition of relocating the recreation department from the community center should take place weeks before the official opening.“We are very excited,” said Lim of the move. “They’re staying right on track and if everything stays as planned, December 21 they should be completed with construction. What a Christmas present.”One of the first things noticed when visiting the new Rec Center is its overall size. When visitors walk in, staff at a check in station can immediately greet them. Forms may be filled out at a waiting area near the entrance where a large screen television is positioned on the wall for convenience. Also in the main area will be a Wall of Honor where a plaque recognizing AJ Smith will be hung.There are not one or two but three restrooms, female, male and family, which include a station for changing babies. Facilities include two large gymnasiums with high, open ceilings. Each gym has a designated color, blue and green, where many different activities will be scheduled.“The floors are gorgeous,” said Lim. “They are a multipurpose flooring and lined to accommodate a variety of sports.”Some of the activities scheduled will be basketball, pickle ball, tennis and volleyball.“And of course we can accommodate far more than that, indoor soccer, badminton, you name it and its going to happen,” said Lim.The heating and cooling systems is state of the art with a cloth type of material used in ventilation, making it extremely quiet and durable.One of the gymnasiums will have a 21-foot section of bleachers and the other a Community Room attached where people can watch activities through a large window between the rooms. The rental area of 1,000 square feet will be used for family type celebrations including such things as bridal and baby showers or simply for meetings.The gymnasiums are designed to accommodate non-marking soled shoes. Food and drinks are allowed only in designated areas. Two Open House dates have been scheduled, Saturday, Feb. 9 from 1-4 p.m. and Friday, Feb. 22, from 6-9 p.m.Recreation programmers Gail Lakatos and Kyle Braunschneider and the entire recreation staff will be on hand to introduce visitors to the facility and its programing.The rec department has already scheduled the following basketball programs: Tot Basketball Program, Jan. 22-Feb. 16, 5 & 6 Year Old Basketball, Jan. 23-Feb. 23, 7 & 8 Year Old Basketball, Jan. 15-Feb 16, and 9 & 10 Year Old Basketball, Jan. 21-Feb. 23.The registration deadline for the tot programs is January 16 while the registration for the older basketball programs is January 11.Also scheduled is a Pickle Ball Program on Thursdays, Feb. 21, 28 and March 7, 14. The registration deadline is Feb 15.Pickle Ball is a combination of Ping-Pong, tennis and badminton.A Senior Pickle Ball League is being formed. Dates are Wednesdays from Feb. 6-April 10. The registration deadline is Jan. 6.A Badminton Program is scheduled for Tuesdays, Feb. 19, 26 and March 5, 12. The registration deadline is Feb. 15.Adult Drop In Programs have been scheduled for Tuesdays from Jan 22-Feb. 26. The first round of adult programing features basketball. Cost is $5 to drop in.A Tot Lot Program for pre-school aged children is scheduled for one hour (9:45-10:45 a.m.) on Mondays. Guided games and free times are scheduled. Parents or guardians are required to stay with their child during the program. Cost is $2 per child.Walking sessions are scheduled every Wednesday at the new rec center beginning Feb. 6 at 9:30 a.m. The free event will take place for 10 weeks. Sessions are open for two hours but walkers may come and go as they please.Free adult drop-in winter Ping-Pong takes place each Wednesday at 7 p.m.