The large structure being built next to the Lea County Event Center, in front of Zia Park Casino, is Hobbs’ Center of Recreational Excellence and construction is on schedule and progressing smoothly.
CORE officials have been offering tours of the new $63.5 million facility while it’s under construction near Millen Drive and the Lovington Highway. Some of the Hobbs News-Sun staff took a virtual tour and a walking tour of the CORE Thursday with Hayden Building Corp. representatives as well as Mayor Sam Cobb, Park and Rec Director Doug McDaniel, CORE Marketing Director Lindsay Chism McCarter and CORE Facility Director Catherine Vorrasi.
CORE tours are also being offered to the public on Fridays. To schedule a tour, contact Chism at 391-4128 or.
Haydon Building Corp. started construction on the CORE in September 2016 and is set to be completed in May 2018. The cost of the project is being funded by the partners in the Quality of Life Committee, which includes the City of Hobbs, the Lea County government, the J. F Maddox Foundation, Hobbs Municipal Schools, New Mexico Junior College and University of the Southwest.
“The first thing you’re going to notice when you are coming through the entrance will be the running track right above your head,” said Josh Knepper, Hayden project engineer.
The running track goes throughout the entire CORE facility and with its design of glass curtain walls, walkers, joggers and runners can get glimpses of each main area of the facility.
“You’ll be able to get different vantage points into each area,” Knepper said.
The CORE has Kids CORE, a room designed for kids that includes reading spaces and a TV space, two party rooms available to rent out for birthdays and an administration area where the City of Hobbs Parks and Recreation Department will be housed.
There is also a banquet room that can seat 160 people and includes a partition in the middle to break it into two rooms. “There are presentation screens that drop down on each side of the room,” Knepper said. “There is a warming kitchen that is attached and it is basically a place for caterers to keep hot food hot and cold food cold.”
The indoor soccer field will be turfed with the same turf used at the Dallas Cowboys stadium. The turf field area also includes four locker rooms, two restrooms and a referee’s office.
“There is also a divider curtain that will drop down the center that allows you to separate the field into two fields for practice purposes and small games,” said Chris Curtsinger, Hayden superintendent.
The CORE’s rotunda area includes seating, treadmills, stair-steppers and bicycles, which goes around the 47-foot tall indoor play structure.
“This indoor play structure has three main towers, two stainless steel slides and walkways connecting each of the towers,” Knepper said. “In the rotunda area … each of the large areas will have glass curtain walls looking into each of the main rooms.”
The Gymnasium has basketball hoops and volleyball nets that fold up into the ceiling and a partition to separate each of the courts. There are also two studio spaces — one that will have resilient athletic flooring and TRX suspension equipment and the other will have wood flooring, mirrored walls and a ballet bar.
“There is a fitness are that will have different sets of strength equipment and two racquetball courts,” Knepper said.
The CORE will also feature several aquatics facilities including a wellness pool, a competition pool with spectator seating for 280 people and the Splash Zone, which will house two 40-foot indoor slides, a lazy river, a spa pool, a zero-entry pool for kids and two cabanas.
“The indoor slides are the tallest indoor slides in New Mexico,” Knepper said. “There’s a body slide and a tube slide. The tube slide exits the building and comes back down into the splash down zone and connect to the lazy river. The body slide goes out over the fitness area. Kids will be able to time themselves and see who can slide down the fastest for each day. There will also be lights and sound — you’ll be able to pick different music to slide down to — it’s very high-tech.”
There will be female and male locker rooms with 13 different changing rooms that will all include showers, restrooms and sinks.
“It all connects to the wellness pool, as well,” Knepper said.
In total, 528,631 gallons of water will be used in the CORE’s aquatics facilities.
“It will all be recycled,” Curtsinger said. “There are 13 pumps, three filters and three chemical controllers.”
Many of the CORE’s financial partners have recently toured the facility and had the same reactions.
“In general, people walk around and go, ‘Wow,’” she said.
Cobb said all the partners are impressed with the work Hayden Building Corp has done at the CORE and said the new facility will become a landmark in the local area.
“All the partners we meet regularly and we’ve been very pleased,” Cobb said. “Hayden is doing a great job and now we’re continuing to work with Catherine, Lindsay and Doug. All the marketing is coming together. If you look at the scope of this projects we’ve had little surprises, which is good. I think you can see now what kind of landmark this is going to be for our community and our region. It’s going to be a place people talk about and want to come see and be a part of.”
McDaniel said the CORE will be the place to be for recreational activities in Hobbs and Lea County.
“As a whole Parks and Recreation Department, we’re excited beyond our wildest dreams to be able to program and offer activities and events (at the CORE),” McDaniel said. “It’s going to change the face of our community and it’s going to give so many opportunities for our community that we’ve never had before that we are very excited for.”