Regala Park gym project under way

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 30, 2010



RESERVE – A long-awaited initiative to bring a community gym to St. John the Baptist Parish was finally set in motion Monday as parish officials broke ground on a $2.2 million gymnasium and office complex at Regala Park in Reserve.

Construction on the 15,000-square-foot facility, which includes a 359-seat gym, recreation department offices, a conference room, kitchen and concession stand, is set to begin July 15. Block Construction of Baton Rouge submitted the low bid on the project back in May.

“Today is a great day for St. John Parish in terms of recreational outlets,” said St. John Parish President Natalie Robottom. “This much needed addition to the facilities at Regala will greatly enhance the park and provide increased amenities to area residents.”

Robottom said the gymnasium building will serve as a starting point for further improvements to the Regala Park area. She said the recreation department is currently working on a checklist of other improvements that will help return the park to the prime recreational facility it once was.

“The parish has been lucky in recent years to be blessed with a wealth of recreational outlets across the parish for residents to enjoy,” Robottom said. “Regala Park has always been the premier park in St. John and this gym has been a premier attraction we have wanted to add for several years.”

Robottom said the gym would serve the needs of residents of all ages. In addition to regular recreational department sports leagues, Robottom said the parish plans to open the gym up to the Southeast Louisiana War Veterans Home and the St. John Senior Citizens Center, which are both in close proximity to the gym site.

“One gym is not going to meet all the needs of all of the residents, but it is an addition that is ours,” Robottom said. “We want this facility to be functional and user friendly.”

The gym was designed to sustain hurricane force winds and could double as an emergency relocation point for the parish. Meyers engineers out of Metairie was paid $295,000 to design the facility.

Robottom said the $2.2 million price tag is about $440,000 below the estimated budget of $2.7 million.

The entire cost of construction is being funded through money out of the $29.5 million bond issue, which was approved by voters in April of 2009.

The project is expected to take about 12 months to complete.