Plant City Community Center
Plant City, Florida
The Lunz team worked with Plant City to design the new Plant City Community Center replacing the City’s beloved, yet outdated, community center. After Hurricane Irma caused significant issues to the existing 50-year old facility, the City determined replacing the existing facility would offer not only a cost-effective solution but also a long-term investment into the community it serves.
The Lunz team provided full design services encompassing civil site design, landscaping and building design. The City did not want a 1:1 replacement of their previous facility; they sought to expand their offerings to the community in addition to making the facility a 50-year, long-term asset. The new community center was to be a focal point and icon for the City.
Design began in May of 2018, and the Lunz team worked diligently to involve the Plant City community through focus groups of city commission invited community leaders. Our team presented the focus groups with multiple options of aesthetic and programmatic solutions. The feedback received was incorporated and led to our present design.
The multi-purpose community center is oriented North/South along a central corridor. Multi-use features were incorporated into the facility’s design including two full-size basketball courts, four volleyball courts, eight pickleball courts, meeting rooms, craft rooms, a computer lab, storage rooms, offices and parking. The community center also includes a small kitchen that can host catering functions.
The facility’s interior aesthetics are austere to help mitigate the abuse a frequently used facility like a community center will encounter. Public areas feature painted CMU block for durability. The exterior serves as a focal point as it’s bold, bright and visible from Park Road. During the focus groups conducted with community members, a surprising hit was a bold orange color of a metal panel skin. The community reacted strongly, noting that it reminded them of the local high school colors. The brightness carries through the rest of the facility in small touches.
The new community center is multiple times the size of the prior facility, allowing the City to host much larger events to meet the needs of its citizens. Programs that were previously limited by facility size can now grow. Increased parking was also a priority the prior facility was lacking, and our team increased their parking capacity many times over.
An additional exterior feature is a large entry canopy opening to an oval lawn. Each year, the MLK Day Parade ends at the community center. Having a host lawn with shade and power pedestals for community tables was essential and was included as a design feature.
Although COVID-19 delays challenged the project as it neared completion, our team worked with vendors to confirm delivery dates and potential alternates, and the project was completed on-time. The Lunz Group also worked diligently with general contractor Trias and City to provide value engineering opportunities. We are proud to have worked with OCI Associates, Kimley Horn, Dirt and Fullone Structural Group on this project.