Local residents are enjoying the years of planning and work put in to improve the well-being of the community offered at the Reeves County Recreation Center.
The facility began as an idea among the county commissioners in early 2012. Though elected officials changed over the years, each court has had at least one torchbearer who refused to let the dream lose momentum.
Former Reeves County Commissioner Louise Moore took the project across the finish line. She served on the court from 2015 to 2018. During her tenure, increasing oil and gas activity provided the needed revenue to make the center a reality for the West Texas community.
“A lot of this came before my time as commissioner, but when I came into office, I made the project one of my top priorities because I felt our residents deserve this,” she said.
Following her election, Moore began researching the most cost-effective construction options with an eye to not only providing a wellness center for the community but also a safe shelter for citizens and travelers alike during bad weather.
“The domes fit all the criteria I had in mind,” Moore said, “I was researching online when I saw the domes at Spur-ISD (Spur, Texas, Independent School District). I spoke with the board members as to why they decided to go with this option, and the primary factors were energy efficiency and ease of maintenance,”
Moore’s effort was greatly supported by fellow commissioners Tony Trujillo and Paul Hinojos. The county ultimately selected South Industries to build the pillars of the facility, and in May of 2019, the first of the two domes that bookend the complex was inflated.
The technique was patented by David, Barry, and Randy South in 1976. The construction of the structure requires an inflatable membrane be pressurized before crews spray the interior with first polyurethane insulation, followed by steel reinforcement, and then several layers of high-density concrete.
Reeves County’s Recreation Center is comprised of two Monolithic Domes joined by a sheet metal and glass enclosure. The larger of the two domes houses two full-sized basketball courts that can be converted into four volleyball courts, depending on which is needed. This “gymnasium” dome also includes an indoor walking track around the circumference of the courts as well as bleachers at either end and bathrooms.
Between the two domes, in the glass enclosure, are racquetball courts, a central weight room, an aerobics room, steam rooms and saunas, a spin (cycling) room, a smoothie bar, the reception area and staff offices, and a child care center where members can drop off kids while they work out.
The third and final structure, a smaller Monolithic Dome two-thirds the size of the first, houses an 80-foot lap pool, a warm water (80-degree) therapy pool, and a hot water (90-degree) whirlpool.
Reeves County’s Production Manager, Andy Calobreves, said the project was the first of its kind for him in his career, but the speed of completion and the professional attitude of the South Industries crew impressed him.
“Any problems we ran into were few and far between, but when we did hit a snag, they were on top of it immediately,” he said.
Jonathan South, the project manager with dome contractor South Industries, said, “Pecos can feel like the end of the road for some people, but seeing a community put together a multi-use facility like this one makes it feel more like a destination!”
“It was a great experience to work with Lee Lewis Construction and the city of Pecos, Texas,” South added. “What a great addition to their community and an even better investment for years to come.”
Once construction was finished, Moore said the commissioners went forward with an interior design that “would be something not only beneficial for our children but for their parents as well. Healthy kids are our priority, but we need healthy parents as well.”
“When I come here, and I come three to four times a week, I am so excited to see the wide range of people using the facility. From youth recreation to senior wellness programs, I am very proud of all the services the center offers, and I look forward to new ones they plan to add,” she said.
“The staff has done a very good job of making everyone feel welcome. Every membership comes with a free fitness consultation where the Rec’s trainers will develop a workout program customized for the individual, which I think is great,” Moore said
She said over the summer, her seven-year-old grandson had thoroughly utilized the swimming pool in the aquatics dome, played in the gymnasium, and enjoyed the outdoor batting cages most of all.
“This really turned out to be more than I imagined it could be. Everybody I talk to has been very impressed, and you can see the community is enjoying it. I am just so glad I could be a part of this,” she said.
In 2020, the county hired Dr. Geff Purdy to equip, staff, and oversee the operation. Purdy came to Pecos from Oregon, where he founded Premier Performance, a training facility catering to all levels of athletes, law enforcement, military units, and the elderly.
During the 15 years Purdy built his business, he developed a holistic approach to fitness in what he names an “integrated health model facility.”
“Coming to Reeves County, I knew I wanted to build off of what I built (at Premier Performance). I wanted to create a seamless program that includes performance training, massage, nutrition, physical therapy, aquatics, as well as youth and adult sports all under one roof,” Purdy said.
“The Rec facility really is one of a kind,” he said, “It is where the industry has been moving over the past 30 to 40 years, but here at the Rec, it has really come together. The high-end health clubs are a way of the past.”
“I think COVID pushed a lot of people to see the benefits of a training program focused on prevention,” Purdy said, “We look at fitness like you would look at your dentist appointment…it doesn’t pay to wait.”
“Improving the quality of life for our members is our number one goal,” he said, adding he is looking to expand wellness programs to include local government entities at a group rate that will include “physical, mental, emotional, and financial health.”
To start that initiative, the Rec’s Director of Massage Therapy Dr. Mark Lumpkin is working to develop a stress management program to be added to the general benefits package for county employees.
“Here at the Rec we do take an integrated approach towards our clients because everybody is multi-faceted. Most facilities focus on one specialty, but in health, everything is interrelated,” he said.
“Especially after COVID, wellness is the emphasis. People see they have options. They are reexamining what they eat, how they sleep, their job, where they live…basically how they want to operate their bodies. What you put in your body is just as important as what you put on it and how you train it. While movement is always the key, our goal is to incorporate all of the concepts of wellness so our clients have access to an integrated wellness system,” Lumpkin said.
Brandan Briggs is the Editor of the Pecos Enterprise newspaper.