A rendering of the second floor running and walking track. The wall along the track has been identified as a possible area for artwork. Photo: Courtesy Jackson/Teton County Parks and Recreation

JACKSON, Wyo. — Teton County Parks and Recreation is trying to cut costs on an already over-budget Rec Center expansion, but finding contractors and materials is proving difficult, Parks and Rec Director Steve Ashworth said at a Town Council workshop Jan. 18.

Project costs have come in at roughly $9 million over the $22 million budget approved in the 2019 SPET election. Ashworth said one of the biggest problems now is finding conntractors who are even able to offer a price estimate.

“It’s a finite pool to begin with,” Ashworth said. “Many contractors locally and regionally are booked for 12-18 months. We’re doing a lot of work trying to solicit proposals and get ideas on pricing.”

Ashworth said Parks and Rec is also working to refine material selections and itemize any improvements that might be able to wait to save costs.

Rec Center expansion is a tall order. Plans include a community climbing gym, a bigger indoor fitness area, an expanded lobby. But another challenge, Ashworth said, is “marrying” new mechanical systems with old ones and weighing cost savings over time with upfront costs. Parks and Rec doesn’t want to be “penny wise and pound foolish,” as councilor Jonathan Schechter said, and cut costs now that may result in added costs down the road on things like energy.

“We’re exploring different options to ‘electrifying’ the building, to reduce our carbon footprint,” Ashworth said. “We understand the cost associated with that. There’s an opportunity for long-term savings, but the challenge is the upfront cost.”

A design committee conditionally approved the expanded building’s design pending requests for some added detail. The plan will move to the planning commission Feb. 2, and if it clears that hurdle, will be presented to the town and county for final review at a Feb. 7 Joint Information Meeting.

Buckrail @ Shannon

Shannon is a Wyoming-raised writer and reporter. She just completed a master's in journalism from Boston University. Jackson shaped her into an outdoorswoman, but a love for language and the human condition compels her to write. She believes there's no story too small to tell nor adventure too small to take.