Palm Beach Daily News

Palm Beach Town Council OKs new outdoor shade structure for Mandel Recreation Center

A new structure to provide more outdoor shade at the Mandel Recreation Center was approved by the Town Council at its meeting last month.

Council members voted unanimously June 13 to approve in concept a design schematic for adding a louvered pergola to the southwest side of the building.

That area was identified by staff as the best location for adding a structure that would provide the much-desired shade requested by patrons of the rec center, Mark Bresnahan, the town’s director of recreation, wrote in a May 30 memo to council members.

The Mandel Recreation Center is at 340 Seaview Ave.

“The lack of shade limits the functionality of this space,” Bresnahan wrote. “With the addition of a pergola, spectators will have a comfortable area to observe games while being protected from direct sunlight. Shade is crucial to ensure the safety and well-being of patrons, especially during outdoor programs, camps, and events.”

The original building plans for the recreation center included a shade structure or a shade tree in the plaza on the building’s southwest side, Bresnahan noted. But the project grew too costly, and those plans were abandoned.

Town staff returned last month with the request to add the pergola, which Bresnahan said would significantly enhance the usability of the center’s southwest patio in addition to providing much-needed shade.

“The space under the pergola complemented by fans will become an ideal place for lunch during summer camp, a serene spot for a morning outdoor yoga class, or as an impressive entrance into the fieldhouse for a special event,” he said. “The potential programming options for this enhanced space are truly exciting for the staff.”

Nelo Freijomel of the Spina O’Rourke + Partners architectural firm will prepare design documents for the project, Bresnahan said. Freijomel was the original architect for the Mandel Recreation Center.

The town’s Architectural Commission will look at the plans, and must approve them before the project can move forward.

The addition of the pergola received the full support of the town’s Recreation Advisory Commission during its January meeting, Bresnahan said. Additionally, the Friends of Recreation supports the project and agreed at its May 3 board meeting to provide a grant of $25,000 for it, Bresnahan said.

The funding for design and construction of the project are included within the remaining capital project dollars for the Mandel Recreation Center, according to town documents. The project’s cost is expected to be approximately $135,000, the town said. Town staff will return to the council for a contract award, if necessary.

“I’ve sat out there on that patio and roasted,” Mayor Danielle Moore said of the planned pergola. “You can’t get it in soon enough as far as I’m concerned.”

The Mandel Recreation Center, which opened in December 2019, features multi-purpose rooms, a gym, after-school room, game room, renovated pro shop and expanded playground. It replaced the town’s original recreation center, which opened 40 years ago. That building was demolished in August 2018 to make way for the new facility, which is significantly larger.

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