PLEASANT HILL -- The Pleasant Hill Recreation and Park District's new community center looks like it should be nestled among the pines on the Lake Tahoe shoreline, not sitting in a suburban park. It's a striking blend of rustic ski chalet and modern design.

"The whole setting is beautiful; its pretty exciting," said park district General Manager Bob Berggren, noting how the building looks lighted up at night.

The $11 million community center is the last of three buildings the district built with a $28 million bond voters passed in 2009. The senior center opened in January 2013, and the teen center opened in October 2012. Pleasant Oaks Park, the final bond project, is scheduled to open March 2.

"It was quite an undertaking. We'd never gone through it before, so it was quite a learning experience," Berggren said. "The staff has just been terrific throughout this whole process, and the public has been patient, and they're raring to get in there."

During an open house from 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday at 320 Civic Drive, the district will offer refreshments, music, art activities for children, fitness demonstrations and information about its many programs.

The 22,000-square-foot community center includes four meeting rooms, three preschool classrooms and two dance studios. An A-frame event hall, suitable for wedding receptions and banquets, features a catering kitchen and a wall of windows overlooking the park.


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By 2011, the wooden exterior of the old community center was showing the effects of four decades of exposure to the elements, and the building was deemed structurally unsafe. The building's closure in April of that year disrupted plans to relocate some senior programs there and left the preschool classes in need of a home.

"It's been four years of displacement of so many programs, activities and staff," said Recreation Superintendent Tina Young. "Now that we're finishing the 'final four,' we're going to get back to normal."

Squeezing three new buildings out of $28 million in bond funds also proved a challenge. The district board had to swap out some of the community center's high-end building materials with standard products and drop a few expensive design features.

Still, the building is impressive. The spacious lobby boasts a high, wood-paneled ceiling, skylights and a unique circular light fixture. The neutral palette pops with pumpkin orange modular furniture and a large painting of a colorful woodland scene that hangs over the front desk. At the staff's suggestion, the board members named the lobby for Berggren.

"It was perfect for him. Bob started his career here at the community center 40-plus years ago," Young said.

Lisa P. White covers Concord and Pleasant Hill. Contact her at 925-943-8011. Follow her at Twitter.com/lisa_p_white.

if you go
What: Pleasant Hill Community Center grand opening
When: 2 to 5 p.m. Sunday
Where: 320 Civic Drive
More information: www.pleasanthillrec.com.