The South Strand Recreation Center has taken shape and crews are hard at work fashioning the interior and finishing the exterior in anticipation of their end-of-September completion, said Gary Watson, director of the Horry County Construction and Maintenance Department.
All glass for the lobby area windows will arrive by Aug. 5 for installation, said John Robbins, on-site project manager for the center.
Lots of work has shifted to the inside to prepare the locker, meeting, exercise and all-purpose rooms, rock climbing wall and kitchen.
A walking and running track that has a six-tenths-of-a-mile circumference has been installed, along with several basketball goals.
There is temporary flooring inside right now, but Watson said the gym will have a genuine hardwood floor that meets NCAA standards.
"All the basketball players love it," he said.
Robbins said workers are also busy trying to finish the ceiling.
The gym has the potential for more than just games of hoops. Watson said the space could be rented out for weddings or other special events if need be.
In addition to the interior accommodations, the new rec center has several multipurpose fields for baseball, football and soccer, a concession stand, a press box and a walking trail that winds around the entire 21,000 square foot complex.
Construction on the $5.2 million facility, located off Scipio Lane, began with an August 2010 groundbreaking, Watson said. A date for the grand opening hasn't been announced, but is expected to happen shortly after work is completed, said Lisa Bourcier, Horry County spokeswoman.
The building is identical to the recreation center being built in Carolina Forest, which is scheduled for completion in November. The only difference will be the colors.
The crew with the Palmetto Construction Group, the company contracted to build the South Strand center, faced some setbacks earlier this year due to Mother Nature's interference.
"These guys had some bad impacts from the weather last winter," Watson said.
Watson didn't know the exact amount of rain, but said it was at least 10 inches or more. The heavy downpour forced workers to bring the site up by almost 4 feet.
Once the center is opened, it will host basketball and football leagues, according to Brent Taylor, director of Horry County Parks and Recreation.
In addition, an after-school program held in Burgess and Surfside Beach will move to the new facility, Taylor said.
Those two locations have 80 students who use the after-school program, Taylor said, and he expects that same number at South Strand.
Six sites across Horry County host an after-school program that assists students with their homework, lets them enjoy some physical activity and provides them a snack. Two hundred county youth participate in the program.
Taylor said the new rec center also will have activities for senior citizens - such as exercise programs and crafts - that are similar to the senior programs currently offered at North Strand Recreation Center.
"South Strand's going to give us a lot more," Taylor said.
Contact BRAD DICKERSON at 626-0301.