New facility

Temple’s Parks and Recreation Department hosted an open house Monday at their new building, located at 1707 N. General Bruce Drive, with employees giving tours and refreshments for attendees.

A former business campus off Interstate 35 is now a showplace for Temple Parks and Recreation Department.

The property consisting of 9.1 acres with a 14,520-square-foot main building and three storage buildings was on view for an open house for residents Monday. The event’s goal was to show off the department’s new building and let residents know where to find all of the parks related offices.

This new structure brought many employees in the department, which had been scattered all around the city in various buildings, under one roof.

About 30 residents visited the new building during the open house were able to talk with parks employees and get a tour around the building, getting to see what their tax dollars went to.

 The Temple City Council authorized the purchase of the $1.95 million building, 1701 N. General Bruce Drive, from MW Builders in late June, with the department fully moving into the space in the middle of October after some signage changes to the building.

Parks and Recreation Director Kevin Beavers said the large new building, and currently unused land, will give the department space to grow as the city grows. Currently 28 employees have moved over to the new building, with around a dozen more expected to move over during the coming months, Beavers said.

Former parks employee James Jones, who came to the open house, said having the new office where all employees can congregate was much better than what he had dealt with as part of the department. At one time, Jones worked out of a closet at the 57th Street fire station.

“When I sat at the desk I was out in the hall,” Jones said. “You could close the doors and you wouldn’t be able to see my desk anymore. This building here is amazing.”

Temple City Councilwoman Susan Long said, after taking a tour around the building Tuesday, she thought the city’s money was well spent on the new building. Long joked that she was jealous of the new building, and the amount of space that the department now had.

 “I think (the building) is gorgeous,” Long said. “We really got a lot here and I think it is wonderful. It feels like a really good buy, square-footage wise at least.”