Currents Center for Recreation and Creativity

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Ways to engage:

The next public open house to review the draft Community Center master plan will be in October. Watch this space or sign up for updates at the right for more information.


Our community hub supporting social, emotional, and physical health.

The Vision

  • A flexible, multi-use space to support healthy lifestyles in an atmosphere that is equitable, multigenerational, and inclusive.
  • Space for inclusive recreational and social programs for all ages, income, and ability levels.
  • Connecting people of all backgrounds, offering diverse program and recreation opportunities, and growing a stronger, more equitable community.
  • A safe, year-round environment.

The Need

For decades, Missoulians have identified the need for expanded indoor recreation space to provide more opportunities to lead a healthy lifestyle and come together as a community. The Missoula Community Center will expand on Currents Aquatics Center in McCormick Park to create a one-stop destination and is part of the McCormick Park Master Plan adopted by the City in 2003. Centrally located downtown and along the Riverfront Trail System, the community center will be accessible, inclusive and inviting.

  • Health and Wellness
  • Visual and Performing Arts
  • Cultural and Community Events
  • Team and Lifetime Sports

Take the Quick Poll at right to let us know how you would use the Currents Center!

The Master Plan

The Master Plan for the Currents Center for Recreation and Creativity represents the community’s vision for the project and sets a course for future development. A comprehensive master plan allows the City to seek funding for project development via public and private partnerships, state and federal grants, developer impact fees, and the City budget.

The City of Missoula, in cooperation with community members, is undertaking a public process to complete the master plan for the Center.

Currents Aquatics Center, the first phase of the community center, opened in 2006. Designed to extend to the north of the Currents Aquatics Center, the community center's second phase will offer additional recreational facilities. More on the history and scope of the Center is available at missoulacommunitycenter.org.

Missoula Parks and Recreation, with the support of the Friends of Missoula Community Center (a citizen advocacy group), has continued efforts toward this important community goal as identified in 2000. A public process to advance the community center design with extensive public input has been developed.

Planning Process Product/Outcome

The final product of the planning process is a conceptual master plan prepared by the design consultant. The master plan will generally show the type, size, location, and spatial relationships of interior spaces, including essential amenities. Additional considerations will include support facilities, circulation throughout, and connections to the site. The plan will also include a report detailing implementation strategies to realize the adopted vision.

2021 Planning Process Timeline

The timeline for the planning process will continue to evolve as the planning process moves forward. Opportunities for public comment are in bold. Use the "Stay Informed" button at right for updates.

March – mid-June: Working Group Meetings 1 and 2

  • Prepare for public process and engagement.
  • Design Consultant Agreement executed.
  • Working group selected and begins meeting.
  • Stakeholder outreach, surveys, open house, and focus group meetings (Late-April through May).

Late June – mid-August

  • Design Consultant prepares draft plan based on input from the public, the Working Group and Technical Group.

September – November: Working Group Meetings 3 and 4

  • Working Group reviews the draft plan, including strategies for realizing the project.
  • Design Consultant finalizes proposed design and projected costs.
  • Host public open house(s) to review the final draft schematic design or master plan.
  • Design Consultant, Working Group, and Steering Committee present the final plan and cost/phasing report to Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, City Council and additional committees or boards as needed.

Ways to engage:

The next public open house to review the draft Community Center master plan will be in October. Watch this space or sign up for updates at the right for more information.


Our community hub supporting social, emotional, and physical health.

The Vision

  • A flexible, multi-use space to support healthy lifestyles in an atmosphere that is equitable, multigenerational, and inclusive.
  • Space for inclusive recreational and social programs for all ages, income, and ability levels.
  • Connecting people of all backgrounds, offering diverse program and recreation opportunities, and growing a stronger, more equitable community.
  • A safe, year-round environment.

The Need

For decades, Missoulians have identified the need for expanded indoor recreation space to provide more opportunities to lead a healthy lifestyle and come together as a community. The Missoula Community Center will expand on Currents Aquatics Center in McCormick Park to create a one-stop destination and is part of the McCormick Park Master Plan adopted by the City in 2003. Centrally located downtown and along the Riverfront Trail System, the community center will be accessible, inclusive and inviting.

  • Health and Wellness
  • Visual and Performing Arts
  • Cultural and Community Events
  • Team and Lifetime Sports

Take the Quick Poll at right to let us know how you would use the Currents Center!

The Master Plan

The Master Plan for the Currents Center for Recreation and Creativity represents the community’s vision for the project and sets a course for future development. A comprehensive master plan allows the City to seek funding for project development via public and private partnerships, state and federal grants, developer impact fees, and the City budget.

The City of Missoula, in cooperation with community members, is undertaking a public process to complete the master plan for the Center.

Currents Aquatics Center, the first phase of the community center, opened in 2006. Designed to extend to the north of the Currents Aquatics Center, the community center's second phase will offer additional recreational facilities. More on the history and scope of the Center is available at missoulacommunitycenter.org.

Missoula Parks and Recreation, with the support of the Friends of Missoula Community Center (a citizen advocacy group), has continued efforts toward this important community goal as identified in 2000. A public process to advance the community center design with extensive public input has been developed.

Planning Process Product/Outcome

The final product of the planning process is a conceptual master plan prepared by the design consultant. The master plan will generally show the type, size, location, and spatial relationships of interior spaces, including essential amenities. Additional considerations will include support facilities, circulation throughout, and connections to the site. The plan will also include a report detailing implementation strategies to realize the adopted vision.

2021 Planning Process Timeline

The timeline for the planning process will continue to evolve as the planning process moves forward. Opportunities for public comment are in bold. Use the "Stay Informed" button at right for updates.

March – mid-June: Working Group Meetings 1 and 2

  • Prepare for public process and engagement.
  • Design Consultant Agreement executed.
  • Working group selected and begins meeting.
  • Stakeholder outreach, surveys, open house, and focus group meetings (Late-April through May).

Late June – mid-August

  • Design Consultant prepares draft plan based on input from the public, the Working Group and Technical Group.

September – November: Working Group Meetings 3 and 4

  • Working Group reviews the draft plan, including strategies for realizing the project.
  • Design Consultant finalizes proposed design and projected costs.
  • Host public open house(s) to review the final draft schematic design or master plan.
  • Design Consultant, Working Group, and Steering Committee present the final plan and cost/phasing report to Parks and Recreation Advisory Board, City Council and additional committees or boards as needed.

Have a question about this project? What amenities would you like to see in the new Currents Center?

Please submit your comments and questions to Parks and Recreation Director Donna Gaukler.

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    How is parking being addressed in this plan if you are bringing in more people to the area?

    Ryan asked 6 months ago

    Great question, thanks for asking! There is an array of parking solutions being considered including nearby parking structures which are planned, but not yet constructed.  Additional considerations include nearby and adjacent surface parking. Of course, there will be an emphasis on any and all improvements for biking, walking and bussing to the Center similar to access to facilities at UM and the Civic Stadium.

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    Will you ask taxpayers to fund this? We can't afford our taxes now. How does this fit the Mayor's " affordable housing" mantra?

    Falling behind in Zootown asked 6 months ago

    Thanks for your questions and comments, we'll be sure to share them with the Working Group.

    At this time funding is not being requested or considered. There will likely be numerous funding mechanisms. Regarding “affordable housing”, a public community center is accessible to all regardless of income and thus a very important public facility for physical, mental and social health. Often those who experience low or fixed incomes have very limited ability to be active during periods of smoke or during our long icy seasons.  A community center can provide access to meals, socialization, and wellness for all. 

    Please consider signing up for occasional project updates and opportunities for public comment at the top right.


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    I took the survey, but would like to reiterate the desire for a dance/theater space. I am returning home to Montana from NYC after a twenty year career in dance. The company I co-founded often created dances for large communities WITH those communities and ABOUT those communities (Akron, NYC, Westchester, Santa Barbara and more). I also taught dance (creative movement and dance making) to all ages. I would be thrilled to have community space to offer this for the Missoula community. Not just for kids. It would be nice to have another theater that can support up and coming directors, dancers, thespians, choreographers show their work. Workshops could be held to help them learn to produce their own work....exciting. As a mom, it would be great to have an indoor play space that both parents and kids could play together, not necessarily sports. I am not opposed to sports, but something for a range of kid ages to play at the same time with parents. The dry land equivalent of a pool.

    Nicole asked 6 months ago

    Thanks for your comments, we’ll be sure to share them with the Working Group. Dance space is included in the preliminary project concept, as are play spaces for kids and families. We agree that kids and families need indoor space to play when the weather or wildfire air quality restricts their outdoor activities. Please sign up for project updates at the top right to be notified of further opportunities for public comment.

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    Can you increase the size of the pool to 25 yards so it can serve more of the communities needs?

    Emily asked 6 months ago

    Thanks for your question, we’ll be sure to share it with the Working Group. 

    Redesigning Currents Aquatics Center is outside the scope of this project and would be cost-prohibitive. An interesting and indirect benefit of the 20-yard pool and warmer water temperatures at Currents is that it serves individuals of all ages who are experiencing mobility challenges in a way none of our other lap pools do. Typical lap pools are often full of ardent fitness and competitive swimmers. The mix often causes conflict for the novice or slower and less skilled swimmer, which results in them “giving up” their space to the ardent swimmer. 

    Splash Montana has a 50-meter pool and daily lap swim hours. Please sign up for project updates at the top right to be notified of further opportunities for public comment.

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    Just curious if there are any plans for a indoor gymnasium - such as basketball, racquetball, or pickle ball courts?

    John asked 6 months ago

    Thanks for your question, we’ll be sure to share it with the Working Group. Yes, a gymnasium is part of the initial project concept. Demand for indoor gym space is high in Missoula, and a multi-purpose gym space would meet the needs of many in our community. Please sign up for project updates at the top right to be notified of further opportunities for public comment.

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    Are you going to include pedestrian friendly ways to get between Currents, the all abilities park, and the new center? I am very frustrated that right now we have to bike with our kids through the parking lot!

    Emily asked 6 months ago

    Thanks for your comment, we'll be sure to share it with the Working Group. Yes! We absolutely need to provide good pedestrian connectivity between Currents and Silver Summit Playground.

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    I have been thinking for a while that we need an indoor playground, especially since Flying Squirrel is shutting down. We need more things for kids to do in the winter months. Not just for preschoolers either. There are a lot of homeschoolers in our community and of course school aged kids could enjoy it late afternoons and weekends. Big kids need to play and move too! We love to play outside but it’s so nice to have some indoor options. And here’s the key: the indoor playground needs to have a coffee shop and tables for parents to sit and chat as they watch their kids. And the playground needs to be visible from the tables, not in various rooms or anything like the old children’s museum. Moms NEED to have a break and chat with their friends or work or etc while being able to watch their children safely play. I think this would be such an awesome addition to a community center.

    amberstew406 asked 6 months ago

    Thanks for your feedback, we’ll be sure to forward your comments to the working group. We agree that kids and families need indoor spaces to play when the weather or wildfire air quality restricts their outdoor activities. The initial project concept does include some type of coffee counter/café/gathering spot for parents.

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    I would love to see spaces for community dance events with a hardwood floor (ideally, a sprung hardwood floor)!

    krys asked 6 months ago

    Thanks for your feedback, we will share it with the design team. Dedicated dance features are certainly under consideration. If you haven't already, please also consider sharing your thoughts via the needs assessment survey at right.

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    Why would you build this when gym's are experiencing reduction in membership throughout town? Also, why would the city want to compete with for-profit gyms/rec centers as well as nonprofit recreation centers like the YMCA? This seems redundant and not a great use of public funds. Also, how much will this project cost the community?

    T asked 7 months ago

    Why would you build this when gyms are experiencing reduction in membership throughout town?

    The Currents Center has not been proposed as a gym or health club, nor is it driven by membership. Rather than a line-up of treadmills and weight machines, it's a gathering place for all ages, interests and incomes to play, socialize, relax and connect with their friends and neighbors. 

    Also, why would the city want to compete with for-profit gyms/rec centers as well as nonprofit recreation centers like the YMCA? This seems redundant and not a great use of public funds.

    A public community center is not in direct competition with gyms, health clubs and nonprofit recreation services. Think of it as an indoor park—climate-controlled, with safe surfaces year-round and healthy air quality during wildfire season. Like a City park, it's a community gathering place, open to all for a wide variety of activities.   

    Many in our community cannot afford a health club membership. Many gyms and health clubs do not allow children. A public community center is accessible to all citizens. The public process to date has focused on a multi-generational facility that is accessible, affordable, and inclusive. It's a space that provides resources and connections for every segment of our community.   

    Residents have requested spaces for dance/art/music of all types, space for adaptive recreation for people with disabilities, indoor walking space, gym space for sports and afterschool programs, space to serve congregate meals for seniors and host social gatherings for all ages.

    Parks and Recreation has a long tradition of coordinating with local health clubs and nonprofits like the YMCA regarding facilities and programs. The YMCA has been and will continue to be very successful in Missoula, and much of their current programming takes place in City parks and trails. Parks and Recreation will continue to work closely with agencies like the Y to develop programming that complements their current offerings and meets additional community needs. It is common for a city of Missoula's size to have three community centers of varying types and program offerings.

    Missoulians identified the need for an "indoor park" or community center with the Celebrate Missoula 2000 public process. The need has been reaffirmed multiple times through robust public processes including, but not limited to, the following: McCormick Park Master Site Plan, Urban Area Plan for Parks and Recreation, Our Missoula Growth Policy, Climate Ready Missoula report, the 2018 Parks Recreation Open Space Trails Needs Assessment, recreation facility feasibility studies and via City of Missoula budget processes and finally, the City's Strategic Goals.

    Also, how much will this project cost the community?

    At this time, the City Council has allocated $125,000 for a public process to develop a master plan and conceptual design. Residents will determine the project's scope, and the master planning process should give us a good idea of the final project budget.

Page last updated: 14 September 2021, 13:46