Click photo to enlarge
A worker puts in new shelves inside a room in the newly remodeled Discovery Bay Community Center, which opens up next week in Discovery Bay, Calif., on Tuesday, Dec. 31, 2013. The new center was transformed from a former athletic center and Discovery Bay officials hope it becomes a town hub. (Dan Rosenstrauch/Bay Area News Group)

DISCOVERY BAY -- The new year will also be a new start for this town's community center.

After a busy 2013 that saw Discovery Bay's Community Services District buy a former athletic club property and deal with some of the growing pains of turning the purchase into a long-awaited town hub, a spruced-up version of the building is reopening this week.

Classes and programs will start next week.

"The inside is a 100 percent improvement from what it was," board Vice President Kevin Graves said.

Most recently, Discovery Bay allocated up to $80,000 toward improving lighting, replacing flooring and adding office space. Work has been ongoing the past couple weeks, and the price tag will wind up under that amount, officials said.

"We wanted to get it to the point where rather than just sitting there, for a minimal cost, it can be a desirable place to go," board President Mark Simon said.

During a site tour this week, General Manager Rick Howard and Parks and Landscape Manager Fairin Perez pointed out that the center has a new room for arts and crafts with laminate floors, new carpet throughout most of the building, and improved siding on the front of the building. Also, mirrors were taken down, and the walls underneath were re-textured and painted.

"We've had a lot of people that have walked in while work is going on, just out of curiosity," Perez said.

The goal now is for the community to "show the value of that property" by participating in classes at the center and using it for functions, Graves said.

"We'll see if they have some skin in the game," he said. "This is something that everyone owns as residents of Discovery Bay."

The district is offering a full slate of new classes, including Zumba, yoga, several types of adult dance, children's programs, and arts and crafts.

Adds Simon: "I think once we get it open, it will become quite popular. People will realize it's very different."

Discovery Bay purchased the 7.25-acre property in mid-February for $810,000. Creating a community center has been a goal for the growing Delta town for almost three decades.

The district has pumped tens of thousands of dollars from Zone 8, a tax assessment for lighting and landscaping, into the well-worn building and property, including the parking lot, since purchasing it in mid-February.

The district put $60,000 toward keeping the inherited fitness center part open in its existing use through last June, so as not to kick out the club's then-members, and put $49,000 into repairs for the site's 30-year old pool.

Discovery Bay's board and community center committee have also been examining a five-year operating budget for the building. Though it hasn't been discussed yet, the district has indicated that the center's long-term sustainability will require a dedicated funding source.

Contact Paul Burgarino at 925-779-7164. Follow him at Twitter.com/paulburgarino.

More information
The Discovery Bay Community Center is at 1601 Discovery Bay Blvd. The center is open from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays, and it's closed on Sundays during the winter months.
For questions about programs or to reserve event space, call 925-634-3528.
To find out about fitness, adult dance, arts and crafts, and other classes being offered at the community center, go to www.townofdiscoverybay.org/content/community-center.
The town also has a Facebook page, which includes center events: Facebook.com/pages/Town-of-Discovery-Bay/276427029053724.