Williston Area Recreation Center

Williston, North Dakota

Following a comprehensive JLG-led feasibility study, the rapidly-growing community of Williston, North Dakota is now home to a 5-acre community recreation center located on the campus of Williston State University. It is the largest park district-owned indoor recreation center in the country.

The aquatics center contains a water park with water slides, a lazy river, zero-entry splash pool, and a surfing-ready wave pool, a fully-accessible instructional pool, and a competition swimming and diving pool with spectator seating. The aquatics portion of the building features a large amount of natural light and multiple locker and change rooms with special dryers so swimmers won’t have to bring home a wet suit. Real fossils from northwest North Dakota that are 35 million to 95 million years old are encased throughout the waterpark and tiles picturing local fish are found at the bottom of the pools in pairs of two to reflect the “ARC” theme. Olympic gold medalist Katie Ledecky, who grandfather spearheaded the first indoor pool in Williston and is the namesake for the natatorium, swam the ceremonial first lap in the Olympic-sized pool.

The large, open gymnasium offers four hardwood basketball courts ringed by a 200 meter, 6-lane performance running track. The gym can host multiple concurrent court games with the ability to subdivide playing places, and floor inserts for volleyball. Racquetball and wallyball are adjacent to the courts.

A 13,000 square foot indoor turf space has the ability to host soccer, whiffleball and grass volleyballs for youth and adult play and upper level training and practice. The area features drop-down batting cages and volleyball courts that can be retracted up into the ceiling space, as well as an area for baseball and fastpitch softball practices. Within the same volume of space is the tennis center, featuring high performance flooring surface, four full sized competition courts, and large amounts of natural light. Dividers between courts and rolling bleachers allow for multiple configurations and competitions to take place.

Free weights, circuit training, and group fitness all have individual homes on the upper level mezzanine with views down into lower spaces and several access points to the track that rings the gymnasium. Patrons can go directly to the fitness areas and use upper level change rooms, all on the same level.

The community can take advantage of many non-fitness uses as well, including a 2-story playground with a variety of park equipment. Williston Parks and Recreation District offices are located in the building, and staff and visitors can access this area without having to go through the main rec center spaces. Public meeting rooms have all of the technology and flexible space needed for a small gathering or a large group. The secure on-site child sitting includes an animal mural to allow children to color on the wall, as well as two-way mirrors so parents can check on their kids. Williston area seniors have their own social space right next to the main entrance for small gatherings and interactions. Budding chefs have a demonstration kitchen for classes, and teens have an interactive, dedicated hang out spot with a bubble hockey game customized to represent players from the University of North Dakota vs. Williston State College. Near the teen area is already a popular attraction: a room-sized golf simulator so enthusiasts can hone their skills and stay sharp in the off-season.

This project was completed in conjunction with Sink Combs Dethlefs.

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"This is one of the best things that's ever going to happen to Williston."
Jeremy Ludlum, Recreation Superintendent