Beech Woods closes for $2.5 million renovation

By: Kayla Dimick | Southfield Sun | Published September 13, 2017

 The Beech Woods Recreation Center features over 17,000 square feet of gymnasium space, as well as a wide range of exercise and wellness equipment.

The Beech Woods Recreation Center features over 17,000 square feet of gymnasium space, as well as a wide range of exercise and wellness equipment.

Photo by Donna Dalziel

SOUTHFIELD — The Beech Woods Recreation Center that Southfielders know and love is undergoing a multimillion-dollar renovation. 

In January, the Southfield City Council authorized a budget of $2.5 million for renovations at the recreation center, 22200 Beech Road. In March, the council approved the renovation plan.

The Beech Woods Recreation Center features over 17,000 square feet of gymnasium space, as well as a wide range of exercise and wellness equipment. Built in the 1970s, the center also offers many different sports programs for children, teens, adults and seniors, such as tennis, volleyball and basketball.

Renovations at the center began earlier this month. Planned improvements include a new elevator, renovations to office space and the lobby, new hardwood playing surfaces, updated locker rooms, and an expanded wellness center.

“The proposed renovations will address the facility’s performance, (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance and fire safety improvements,” City Administrator Fred Zorn said in a written statement. “Members of the Southfield Building Authority will be in attendance, as the project has been placed under the superintending care of the Southfield Building Authority.”

Zorn said the funds for the project will come from the Building Authority account in the city’s budget.

Since the building is getting a complete facelift, city officials decided to close the center during the project, which is slated to run through late January 2018.

“They started ripping down the walls today,” Pattie Dearie, facilities supervisor for the Beech Woods Recreation Center, said Sept. 7. “The dumpsters are there — there’s debris in the dumpsters, so we’re pretty excited.”

Dearie said the renovations are much needed.

“I’ve been working here on and off for 40 years. This was my high school job, and it’s looked the same for 40 years. It’s about time we redo the walls and floors. It’ll be transformed into something new and this century,” Dearie said.

The renovations started out as a plan to make the center more accessible for people with disabilities and to make it more inclusive, Dearie said, but then the scope grew as employees realized how much work actually needed to be done.

“Everything is getting updated, whether it’s electrical or aesthetics. All of this came about because we host sports and recreation, and we do it for all sects of the population. We have a lot of adaptive recreation programs here, like wheelchair basketball, tennis, golf — we really needed to update the exits and the bathrooms for that population, because we’re inclusive,” Dearie said. “We thought, if we’re going to do that, let’s do this, so then we started to do everything.”

Offices at the center and several programs will relocate to the John Grace Community Center, 21030 Indian St., according to city officials.

Dearie said the city will offer yoga and karate, senior volleyball, adult pickleball and basketball, and children’s after-school programs at John Grace.

For more information, go to cityofsouthfield.com.