Willmar Recreation and Event Center is starting to take shape

The precast walls of the under construction Willmar Recreation and Event Center have started going up. The $10 million project is slated to be completed next fall.

A large crane moves a section of pre-cast wall into place at the construction site of the Willmar Recreation and Event Center, adjacent to the Willmar City Center, on Wednesday. Shelby Lindrud / West Central Tribune
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WILLMAR — The walls are going up at the construction site of the Willmar Recreation and Event Center , adjacent to the Willmar Civic Center . The precast walls started being installed this week with the help of a very large crane.

"By the end of next week, the walls will be completed," said Rob Baumgarn, Willmar Parks and Recreation director.

The steel for the roof is expected to arrive in January. And once the exterior of the building is up and made weather-tight, the work on the inside will begin.

"This is tracking well, this project," Baumgarn said.


The walls of the Willmar Recreation and Event Center should be completed by Christmas 2021 and the roof is scheduled to be installed in January 2022. Shelby Lindrud / West Central Tribune

The $10 million center is one of six projects being funded by the city's half-cent, voter-approved sales tax increase . In addition to the rec center, the projects include athletic fields plus a softball complex by the Civic Center, Swansson Field improvements, upgrades at Robbins Island Regional Park , stormwater improvements and a yet-to-be-determined project revolving around the Willmar Community Center . The plan is for the tax to raise $30 million over 13 years to fund the construction of the projects.

Electrical work is being done in the area that will one day house the new indoor playground at the Willmar Recreation and Event Center, as photographed Dec. 1, 2021. Shelby Lindrud / West Central Tribune

The 25,000-square-foot rec and event center will include two large courts that can be used for pickleball, tennis, basketball, volleyball and a variety of dry floor events, as well as a kitchen area, indoor playground area, meeting rooms, dressing rooms and an updated and expanded lobby.

"We're talking to vendors for the playground and stuff," Baumgarn said, to make sure everything is lined up when the time comes to install it.

The center was designed by LSE Architects, and Marcus Construction is the manager for the project.

Even though the start of construction was delayed by nearly two months, Baumgarn said the project is still on track for a fall 2022 completion. The weather has definitely helped, allowing construction crews to get the ground work completed without any delays.


"Mother Nature has been nice to us that way," Baumgarn said.

Sections of wall for the rec and event center are made secure. Shelby Lindrud / West Central Tribune

Shelby Lindrud is a reporter with the West Central Tribune of Willmar. Her focus areas are arts and entertainment, agriculture, features writing and the Kandiyohi County Board.

She can be reached via email or direct 320-214-4373.

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