LOS LUNAS — The Daniel Fernandez Recreation Center in Los Lunas will shift to a membership-only model in the new year in anticipation of the completed expansion of the facility.

“When we move into the new building, we’re going to have more programming options available with our new space,” said Marcos Castillo, Los Lunas recreation supervisor. “There is also going to be more open gym time because our gym won’t constantly be busy like it is right now.”

The center will offer several different options for monthly memberships to their weight facility, gym time and various classes — $10 for adults 18 and older, $5 for teenagers ages 14-18, $5 for seniors ages 50 and older, and $15 for a family plan.

The membership plan will go in effect on Jan. 1, 2023. All patrons will be required to purchase a membership to use the facility.

Currently, the village charges a day use fee of $2 to use the building or attend exercise classes, and $1 each day for seniors.

“Really, what we are doing is lowering the prices for our members, because you come for $2 a day for five days. That’s $10 bucks; there’s your monthly membership,” Castillo said, adding the affordability of the plan will increase as the recreation center expands programming.

Other community centers within the county also charge monthly rates for facility use. At the Belen Community Center, a regular monthly membership is $25 and it’s $3 for a day pass.

Students and seniors receive a discount, paying $20 for a month or $2 per day. The center’s walking track is free to use, but donations are welcome, according to the city of Belen’s website.

Those participating in sports clubs or leagues, which use the Daniel Fernandez Recreation Center, will not be subject to the membership fees. Those at the facility for a league game or other similar event will also not be charged the monthly membership fees.

Castillo said the change to a membership-only model is to keep better track of who is in and using the recreation center, requiring check-in for every person, especially as the center’s first phase of expansion nears completion.

“We’re doing it to also standardize things,” Castillo said. “We are one of the few community centers that have membership options, and we are doing it so we can track participation in our building, how many people are coming in and out, seeing who’s here all the time because sometimes at open gym, it’s just people coming in and out an we don’t know who is here.”

The center will offer online registration in addition to in-person registration for memberships. Those who already have accounts set up at the center will have their information carried over to the new system.

“When we do move into this new process, it should be super easy for everybody,” the recreation supervisor said. “We’re not going to have membership cards or badges or anything like that, you’ll just check in with either your membership ID number, which they will receive, or just check in with their name and (state-issued) ID.”

The first phase of expansion for the Daniel Fernandez Recreation Center includes a second gymnasium, three additional program rooms, a new front desk and lobby area, an expanded weight room and a party room, which will open up to the splash pad in the park.

One of the additional program rooms will provide a consistent practice space for the village’s dance program, which is currently held at the Fred Luna Multi-Generational Center. The program rooms and new gym will also provide more space for the summer recreation  program, which the village has had to limit enrollment for the past few years due to space concerns.

Castillo said the village is aiming to open the new gym in late summer or early fall of next year. He said the construction has hit some snags making the opening date a moving target.

Future expansions to the recreation center will include a pool and aquatic center, however Castillo said funding for that phase, which will require tens of millions of dollars, has yet to be secured.

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Makayla Grijalva was born and raised in Las Cruces. She is a 2020 graduate of The University of New Mexico, where she studied multimedia journalism, political science and history.