The thought may seem strange that what the indoor turf at the Montrose Field House lays on top of was at one time a pool, but it’s true.
Residents of Montrose were able to see the renovation of the old Montrose Aquatic Center into a field house themselves, as the Montrose Recreation District staff hosted the grand opening on Saturday.
Even those at the MRD are in wonder about the overhaul that occurred at the indoor pool. Jason Ullmann, vice president of the MRD Board of Directors, said he’s stunned with the changes of the location.
“I’m just amazed about the transformation between what was a diplated, old pool building is now this amazing turf facility that so many people are enjoying already,” Ullmann said.
Learning about the history of the refurbishing project was discussed by Ullmann and others during the grand opening dedication. MRD Executive Director Ken Sherbenou, Mayor Judy Ann Files, Montrose County Commissioner Roger Rash, Aquatic Center contractor Bob Nicholson and MRD Board of Directors President Barbara Bynum gave their remarks about the new field house before the ceremonial ribbon-cutting.
Afterward, children and adults were able to walk on the new indoor turf.
Wade Ploussard, MRD adult recreation coordinator, said he noticed many of those attending the grand opening were fresh faces.
“A lot of these people we haven’t seen before, so that’s great to see some new people come in and seeing what we have done with the renovation,” Ploussard said. “A lot of them were here before swimming and now they are able to see the reuse of it.”
The field boasts a location where residents can compete in different activities, like soccer, lacrosse, ultimate frisbee and a batting cage.
The field house offers a place for those looking to play sports when the weather isn’t kind. Because of this, Ullmann noted the added advantage players can have by preparing for an outdoor game when it is raining or snowing.
“The benefit of having a facility where you can practice on indoor turf like this is huge for local sport teams,” Ullmann said. “The benefit for adults, like having adult leagues in here, keeps adults to be active and excited about coming in and exercising.”
Offering this to the community has been years in the making According to Sherbenou, a task force was created in 2011 to brainstorm ideas about what to do with the previous facility. The conclusion was to make it into a indoor turf field.
The project was victorious when a new sales tax measure passed in 2014. That same measure helped fund the Montrose Community Recreation Center.
As Sherbenou watched kids play on what was at one time a swimming pool, he noted this occasion was a long time coming.
“This is a culmination of the project because this was tied to the recreation center,” Sherbenou said. “I think Jason had a great point in his speech that people were so focused on the rec center and so excited about that, which is wonderful, but people overlook this piece, which was a part of the same project. It is really gratifying to see this open and people learn, ‘Oh, we have a field house in Montrose.’”
He added those who have taken the chance to see the new building have come away impressed by it.
“It’s surprising how good it turned out, and I think that is the general response we get from people when they come in,” Sherbenou said. “This facility, they see something very different from what was here before. They are very excited about it. They walk in here and think, ‘This is in Montrose?’”
The field house is indeed in Montrose and, as of Saturday, opened to the public. As Ullmann looked across the indoor turf field, he explained he was grateful such a location was available in town.
“I’m just thankful that the community supported the project — the rec center and this project,” Ullmann said. “And I’m thankful that we found such a great new use for this building and that it didn’t just get torn down.”
The field house is at 930 Colorado Ave.
Andrew Kiser is the Montrose Daily Press’ education/sports reporter. Follow him on Twitter @andrew_kpress.