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Recreation: A range of programs will come with new facility

By Jason Lesley
Coastal Observer

The Waccamaw Regional Recreation Center at Parkersville Park won’t officially open to the public until May 1, even though there is a dedication ceremony and open house scheduled today at 5:30 p.m.

The facility is the first of three new regional recreation centers planned under Georgetown County’s capital improvement program. Others are coming to Andrews and Choppee. The Beck Center in Georgetown has been refurbished for recreational use already.

“It is so exciting to have a facility like this,” said Beth Goodale, director of county parks and recreation. “We’ve not had any true indoor recreation center on the Waccamaw Neck. This will be so important to the quality of life for seniors as well as bringing kids all together too. It gives us a lot of space under one roof.”

The center’s 14,500 square foot gymnasium offers the potential for a variety of uses. It can be divided for simultaneous recreational basketball games. A new 3-on-3 adult basketball league is coming soon, too. There are also plans for volleyball, shuffleboard, four square and pickle ball in addition to a four-lane rock climbing wall. A walking track encircles the court area. The gym has a capacity of 350 at tables, 500 standing for a reception and 400 in the bleachers.

“A big part of senior programming is indoor walking,” Goodale said. Staff at the rec center will be certified in the “Walking with Ease” program and be able to assist people with arthritis. The rock wall is a unique feature that will be in all the county rec centers. Two trained staff members must be present when the wall is open for use. Hours of operation and a fee schedule will be announced after May 1.

“In all the past years,” Goodale said, “we’ve been forced to use school gymnasiums to do basketball. We’ve been limited in what we could do here. Now that we’ve got our first gym on the Waccamaw Neck, we can run programs throughout the year.”

The gym floor is a multi-purpose surface that will take abuse but not show it. “You can roller skate on it, put tables on it, play basketball on it,” Goodale said. “We did a large amount of research before the renovation project at Beck. We looked at floor samples and installed floors. We stabbed them, hit them, beat them — and this one won out.”

The only area of the rec center without the multi-purpose flooring, other than locker rooms, is the room with weight-training and cardio machines. It has a rubber floor to absorb shock.

Flexible programming was the county’s goal in the facility’s 1,600 square foot multipurpose space, Goodale said. Rooms can be divided for smaller groups and programs such as ping-pong, line dancing, karate, aerobics and painting.

Senior programs will be conducted Monday through Friday, including the return of a dining program on site and home delivery. Senior citizens have been transported from Pawleys Island to Georgetown for midday hot meals. A 400-square foot kitchen allows the heating of catered meals. Cooking will not be permitted because there is no fire suppression system.

The kitchen doubles as a concession stand for recreation events. There will also be a separate vending area for drinks and snacks.

The farmers market returned to Parkersville Park’s lawn beside the new rec center this week.

“The goal,” Goodale said, “is to keep a multitude of things going.”

The building is designed with energy efficiency in mind. Motion sensors turn lights on and off in every room except the gymnasium. Windows allow daylight into the gym to minimize the necessity of artificial lighting. Fountains allow people to fill their own water bottles.

Users of the gym and other facilities will pay fees at the front desk. Monthly rates will be available to regular users. They will be announced May 1. Rooms and the kitchen are available for rent. There’s a family reunion scheduled for August already.

Adam Payne will be the first recreation specialist at the Waccamaw center. County recreation staff will rotate through the facility.

“We’re excited to be getting in here,” Goodale said.

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