25th Anniversary in 2017
- Today, the Monterey Sports Center serves as a model facility for other cities throughout the state when they look to provide exceptional recreation and fitness programs and services for their communities. Serving nearly 3,000 guests daily, the Monterey Sports Center has far exceeded the early expectations of the “Swim/Gym” and has been a major contributor to the economic vitality of the downtown Monterey community. Over a million visitors annually participate in the programs and classes offered at the Monterey Sports Center and the continued excellence of the services, cleanliness of the facility, and support of the more than 200 employees that work at the Monterey Sports Center help make the facility a treasured recreation and fitness destination for much of the Monterey Peninsula. Many of the fifth graders that urged Mayor Roberson to push for the Monterey Sports Center, have raised their families in the swim lesson programs, basketball leagues, and family recreation programs offered over the years. Consistently regarded as the best overall fitness facility on the Monterey Peninsula, the Monterey Sports Center serves as the heartbeat of the community. Mayor Clyde Roberson urged the Monterey City Council in 1986 to make a “Swim/Gym” the number one priority for the City. Clyde attributed the idea of the “Swim/Gym” to the persistent requests from his fifth grade students and members of the community for an indoor swimming pool and gym space for the highly impacted recreation programs. The Council supported Mayor Roberson’s motion, leading to the planning and construction for the facility. The “Swim/Gym” would later become the Monterey Sports Center when it opened to the public on June 1, 1992, the day after several thousand visitors attended the grand opening ceremony anxious to tour the new facility.
- The City Council approved a facility that would serve the entire community, including children, teenagers, adults, senior citizens, individuals with disabilities, and all members of the extended family.
- After considering several different sites as options for the facility, the Beatty Ford site was chosen just two blocks from downtown Monterey and in close proximity to the wharf and the waterfront recreation trail, anchoring Jacks Park, the Tennis Center, and the Recreation Trail and being convenient for walking, cycling, driving, and public transit. Another significant benefit for the location was the anticipated boost to local downtown businesses from the increased traffic to the area, expected to attract 600?700 visitors a day to the new facility.
- Funding for the facility was initiated by a donation from the Mary Jacks Thomas Trust Fund dating back to 1955 that totaled $4.5 million. This funding was supplemented by general funds for the construction of the facility and, previously, from acquisition of the land and cleanup of the soils. Additional funding was raised through a community fundraising campaign that provided an additional $1 million to provide for equipping and furnishing the new facility.
- The first staff worked together before the construction of the facility and during the early years to build up the staffing and programs that have become the hallmark of the Monterey Sports Center’s commitment of service to the community. Shortly after opening, it was realized that the demand for fitness activities was more than anticipated and reconfiguration of proposed office space allowed for a dedicated group exercise studio and expanded cardiovascular fitness and weight training areas. An additional lobby area was designed into a snack bar and pro shop. Under former Mayor Dan Albert Sr. and with support from then councilmember Clyde Roberson, the City Council again decided to make the Monterey Sports Center a priority for the City with a major expansion completed in January of 2002. The expansion augmented the original 56,000 square feet of programming space by over 15,000 square feet, giving the current Monterey Sports Center a total of 71,200 square feet of programming space including the original swimming pools and gymnasium along with two group exercise studios, large Cardiovascular Fitness, Strength Training, and Stretching rooms, a large Kid’s Zone area for children, additional locker rooms, and larger café area for socializing and supporting community interactions throughout the facility.
Pictures from the History of the Sports Center
CITY FOCUS ARTICLE 1991 - CONSTRUCTION BEGINS
CITY FOCUS ARTICLE 1992 - GRAND OPENING
Photos from the 25th anniversary celebration, Thursday, June 1, 2017