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Collier rec center to open officially this month

| Saturday, Jan. 3, 2015, 12:01 a.m.
The Collier Community Center is slated to open officially by the end of January.
Randy Jarosz | For Trib Total Media
The Collier Community Center is slated to open officially by the end of January.

Collier residents soon will have a place to stay active, even in cold weather.

The Collier Community Center is slated to open officially by the end of January.

A dance studio, gymnasium and walking track will be among the amenities in the 40,000-square-foot center, along with banquet and party rooms that can accommodate 70 to 90 people.

“We are really excited and appreciate the patience people are showing” while finishing touches are put on the building,” Parks and Recreation Director Lisa Novak said. “Once it opens, residents will be very happy.”

The $4.5 million center was built at the former Charles E. Kelly Support Facility, on 75 acres that the federal government deeded over to the township three years ago. The land, which previously belonged to the Army, was given with the intention that a park and community facility would be built there, Collier Manager Sal Sirabella said.

“It is a gathering place for our residents' families and friends to meet,” he said of the center.

Funding for the project came from 2012 bond proceeds, as well as grants from agencies such as the state Department of Community and Economic Development and Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

Collier currently has a 600-square-foot community room in the municipal building, built in 1987.

“With the community center, we can have a real recreation department where we can offer both educational and instructional exercise classes,” Sirabella said.

Novak and Sirabella said all major construction is complete. Remaining work includes installing lockers accessible to those with disabilities, various piping work and adding items such as vending machines.

The township hired Novak three years ago to head the project and department. She used her experience as assistant manager at Mt. Lebanon's recreation center to choose what to include in Collier's building.

“It was a lot of fun for me,” she said, adding that she put an emphasis on the open flow design of the building and having storage space.

Most rooms are equipped with cubicles for short-term storage, and floor outlets to eliminate the need for extension cords, for example.

Three classrooms include a kitchenette, to allow refreshments to be offered with events.

“People want things to be comfortable,” she said.

Interviews are being conducted for part-time staff. The center will employ 10 part-time and three full-time employees, including Novak.

Once the center opens, residents can expect a full schedule of programming.

Volleyball, basketball and soccer associations in the area have expressed interest in using the facility for games and training, and instructors have reached out to the township about holding various classes there, Novak said.

Anyone can use the building. However, access to the track, gym and locker rooms will require a membership.

Single adult rates start at $80 a year for residents and $100 for non-residents. Teen, senior citizen and family rates are available.

Officials plan to send out a newsletter with a schedule of events.

The center will be open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. The phone number for the center is 724-693-0780; the address is 5 Lobaugh Drive, Oakdale.

Alex Felser is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5810 or afelser@tribweb.com.

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