Dec 022007
Authors: Chris Seegers

When Fort Collins residents said they wanted a new community center, they were serious about their request. Now, after years of planning and building, the multi-million dollar Northside Aztlan Community Center (NACC) has opened its doors at 112 E. Willow Street.

“We have had a big year in Fort Collins and have opened up some spectacular facilities,” City Manager Darin Atteberry said.

The idea to build the community center came directly from Fort Collins citizens after a number of complaints that the old facilities weren’t large enough to accommodate a community this size. The new 50,000 square foot community center is the product of years of planning by the city and its citizens.

“The Northside Aztlan Community Center was a capital improvement project voted on by the citizens of Fort Collins,” said Fort Collins Recreational Area Manager Steve Budner. “Capital improvement projects are when the citizens tax themselves and this project was a total of $10 million.”

Fort Collins has long struggled to provide adequate space for its youth, especially in areas such as indoor basketball and volleyball courts, he said.

“This facility has three full-sized basketball courts,” Budner said. “We didn’t have enough flexibility in the old facilities, and that was one of the main goals of this project. We wanted to expand the exercise room, dance space, spinning room and to basically make a larger facility.”

The new facility boasts three basketball courts, a weight/cardio room, a spinning room, a large dance room, an indoor running track and a lounge area stocked with pool tables, a foosball table, big screen TV and computer lab with free Internet.

“Our biggest target is children, but its not just there for kids,” said Budner. “We’re here for anyone who wants to use it.”

The center is a safe place for kids to hang out and engage in meaningful activities, he said. The community center lounge is designed to provide a safe, quiet place for kids to come after school and work on their homework or just hang out and enjoy the free games.

The center has a set rate for admission, varying on age, while the option of paying membership fees is also available. Punch cards can be purchased from the front office, and a member will only pay for the days that they actually use the facilities.

“The center is supported by tax dollars and all our revenue goes back into the center,” said Budner. “We believe everyone’s life is enhanced by these facilities.”

The center’s focus on enhancing the lives of community members is aided by their new and improved child development facilities made up of four large class/fun rooms. The rooms are dedicated to children ages three to five for activities such as painting, crafts, tumbling and educational adventures.

The NACC has also provided outdoor basketball courts, access to walking trails and an outdoor skate park that will open in 2008.

“This facility is for everyone and once you walk in, you will find it more than worth the drive,” Budner said.

Staff Writer Chris Seegers can be reached at

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