Located in a town of just 5,500 and boasting a membership of 3,600, the Gypsum Recreation Center has truly become a community gathering place. The facility offers an indoor pool plus a variety of water-play activities, including a spa, lazy river, water slides and spraypad.

As part of the greater Western Eagle County Metropolitan Recreation District, the center’s stated mission is to “provide innovative, affordable recreation opportunities that improve the quality of life” in the county. Swim lessons draw students from seven schools, and the pool’s summer swim team program recently expanded to year-round training. Lifeguard instruction for high schoolers and a water therapy program for sports medicine patients round out the offerings.

The pool has become a haven for families thanks to its annual EggQuatics Extravaganza, an underwater Easter egg hunt. Advertised in school fliers and newspapers, the event attracted more than 100 participants and 200 spectators in 2007. The pool also has become a favorite locale for children’s birthdays, hosting an average of eight parties each month.

Serving the community was a key focus of the Gympsum Recreation Center from day one, so Aquatics Manager Ben Goldstein was happy to include the community in the facility’s design planning. His staff regularly reaches out to community members and leaders through public speaking events with civic groups.

Now just 2 years old, the center continues to find new ways to improve attendance and cut costs. For example, it changed from liquid chlorine to chlorine tablets last year, reducing operating costs by $15,000.

Marketing efforts include school fliers, newspaper and TV ads, and magazine articles plus inclusion in the district’s semiannual guide, a 10,000-circulation pocket magazine. Goldstein attributes the facility’s success to four factors: a friendly, helpful staff; a consistently clean, safe building; enjoyable programs led by professional instructors; and affordable prices. — I.H.