Facility Options That Match Helena’s Needs and Resources

There are a range of facility options that the Helena region can afford to build and operate.  HRSA is currently examining the three options, inviting community input, and evaluating potential facility locations.  Leave your comments on this page, or join us at Ales for Charity night to provide feedback.

Option 1Option 2Option 3
GymnasiumTwo High School
2 @ 84x50 feet
Four High School
4 @ 84x50 feet
Four High School
4 @ 84x50 feet
Competition Swimming Pool8-lane, 25 yard
(no meters course)
Starting blocks, cool water temperature
25 yard x 25 meter
(10 lanes x 25 yards)
Starting blocks, cool water temperature
25 yard x 25 meter
(10 lanes x 25 yards)
Starting blocks, cool water temperature
Community Activity Pool2,500 square feet
Beach-style entry, warm water temperature
3,500 square feet
Beach-style entry, warm water temperature
3,500 square feet
Beach-style entry, warm water temperature
Walk/Jog Track
noneElevated, 12 laps per mileElevated, 12 laps per mile
Field HousenonenoneTwo fields,
2 @ 200x85 feet
Building Area47,000 sq ft76,000 sq ft129,000 sq ft
Land Required3 – 5 acres7 – 9 acres10 – 12 acres
Capital Cost$20 Million$31 Million$46 Million

It is important to note that none of these facility options are projected to cover their operating costs. There are no examples of indoor recreation facilities in Montana or any neighboring states that break even or are profitable.  This explains why no private companies have stepped in to fill the demand for these facilities.  Five-year budget projections for each of the facility options are shown below.  Economies of scale are at work here; the largest facility option experiences the smallest annual operating loss.

Projected 5-Year Averages Option 1Option 2Option 3
Annual Revenue$1,324,106
Annual Cost$1,648,028 $2,025,378$2,380,934
Annual Operating Loss$323,922$358,962$201,967
Cost Recovery Percentage80%82%92%

The estimated annual operating loss of each facility is just as important as the capital cost-to-build when comparing facility options.


57 Replies to “Facility Options That Match Helena’s Needs and Resources”

  1. Helena really needs option 3. The more activities like swimming and indoor soccer we have for our youth, the less time they’ll have to get into trouble.

  2. Make sure that what ever you build it is handicapped accessible. Family/wheelchair bathroom rooms. Lots of van accessible parking. The bigger the better would be incredible to host state special Olympic games.

    1. HRSA definitely envisions that this facility would serve the entire Helena community, and hopes to welcome Special Olympics, Senior Olympics and many other state-wide events.

  3. I would support Option 3 – more initial outlay of cash, but less annual operating loss. It also gets us more of what the community identified as needs. If you are going to build a facility of this magnitude, you don’t want it to be lacking from the moment you build it. A multi-purpose building will be less expensive and more environmentally sustainable than building several small, one-purpose buildings.

  4. I would support option 3 for sure. We would end up paying the least for this and would benefit from 2 indoor soccer fields! Year round soccer!

  5. I say go for option 3 even if it has to be completed in stages. It covers all activities for area residents. I am in support of the indoor fields in order to have indoor soccer as well as practice fields for other sports such as LaCross. The entire complex could be used to bring tournaments to town which increases revenue for local restaurants and hotels.

  6. Thank you for all your leadership and hard work on this – the options are clear, clearly well thought out and researched. Our community would benefit from such an athletic facility. I support Option 3 – for sure. What are the funding possibilities for this project?

  7. Option 3. Healthy children equals a healthy community and Option 3 would have a more expansive reach. Thank you to all of those putting this vision into action.

  8. I’m in support of option 3. When investing in a project of this size we should invest in the option that serves the most people. Option 3 serves the most members of our community and in doing so has the desired effect of building a true community facility.

  9. Deb – Thank you for this on-line option to respond and comment. Option 3 provides the most for the on-going money. That is my personal vote. As with the airport soccer complex, I am willing to help get the bonding passed for the facility.

  10. Thanks for getting something started. Helena has needed an indoor facility for awhile now. Option 3 fits the bill.
    I would love to help you folks in any way you deem appropriate.

  11. I am very concerned that none of the three options can cover their costs, according to the financial analysis presented. That is a huge red flag.

    I am very much against using a tax to fund such a facility. It’s not fair to the citizens of the Helena area that don’t want to pay for this for us to take their money by force. As long as this project won’t be paid for by tax dollars, I am for whichever of these three options can be privately and sustainably funded.

    1. At this time we aren’t sure what the funding mix looks like, but we all agree that funding for the facility should be sustainable. We would welcome your suggestions and the opportunity to win your full support for this project.

  12. What an exciting development for the Helena valley! I heartily support Option 3. Indoor field space would be booked solid from the get-go. So many different sports would be able to use the fields and would make use of an indoor complex. Soccer, especially, would be an “anchor tenant” of the fields, both youth and adult league. Small-sided indoor soccer facilities are absolutely exploding in popularity nationwide and Helena would be no exception.

  13. 50 yard/meter will land Helena the State swim competition. 25 is not enough. Having State here will bring the financial stability and profitability that will help with operational cost and community benefit. Will help place a permanent home for Helena Lions Swim Team. Otherwise, option 3. Thank you for doing this and will do our best in the community to help the cause. Good luck.

  14. With Congress’ funding of the Land & Water Conservation Fund in 2020, there might be grants available to support the construction of a competition pool and sports complex. Also, Kendrick Field might be a possible location now that the baseball contract is set to expire December 2020. I no longer live near Helena, but my son Gage swam for HLST and HHS and it would be great for future generations of swimmers to have a centralized facility in the state to support them and other kinds of athletes.

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