LOS LUNAS — It’s an exciting time for recreation in Los Lunas with progress being made on multiple quality-of-life projects that will bring a wealth of new opportunities to residents of all ages.

One such project that is nearing completion is the first phase of Daniel Fernandez Recreation Center’s expansion. This expansion includes a new gym, three new program rooms, an additional restroom, a party room, more office space for staff and a new front entry.

Los Lunas Parks and Recreation Director Jason Duran said this $7 million  project, funded through the village, is aiming to be completed in mid to late summer.

The floor plan of the current Daniel Fernandez Recreation Center expansion. Construction is aiming to be completed in mid to late summer. Image courtesy of Village of Los Lunas Parks and Recreation Department.

Duran said he is most looking forward to the expansion of programs this addition will provide as well as programming that will benefit a broader demographic.

“Possibilities are limitless as far as programs,” Duran said. “The expansion will allow us to expand everything from after-school programming to summer and winter (recreation) programs. We have a lot of programs for youth, but now we can expand to include more programs for teens and seniors.”

“For teens especially, what we’re hearing is that there’s nothing for them to do if they’re not into sports,” he said. “So we’re wanting to have teen nights, video games, arts and crafts and dances.”

For more ideas, Duran said he wants to get input from teens directly, and work with them to get a better sense of what they’re interested in and see what programming they can add based on that.

In addition to the expansion of programs, Duran said more space will also allow them to develop new programs, which they plan to start announcing once construction is closer to being completed.

The new gym, Duran said, will also bring an expansion to programming and will help out immensely.

Felina Martinez | News-Bulletin photo
The first phase of the Daniel Fernandez Recreation Center expansion is near completion. The new facility will include a new gym, three new program rooms, an additional restroom, a party room, more office space for staff and a new front entry.

“All of our programs, like basketball and volleyball, youth and adult, can be expanded,” Duran said. “They’ll get more practice time and we’ll have additional open gym times.

“On the adult side, we’re going to expand the hours on the weekends and bring in more tournaments.”

While the facility is currently limited to mostly volleyball and basketball, the expansion will allow them to have pickleball as well.

Another exciting addition included in the expansion is the first indoor party/meeting room on the premises. Duran said they’ll definitely be utilizing it during tournaments and it can be rented for a variety of occasions and different activities. Pricing is to be determined.

Aquatic Center

After the completion of the current phase of expansion, the final phase will be the construction of an aquatic center, which could house multiple swimming pools.

Duran said this is a big ticket item, estimated to cost $20 million or more, so a starting date and timeline for construction is still in the works.

“At this time, the village doesn’t have the funds to build it all on their own. We would like to partner with multiple entities, but that’s something we’ll have to work out as there’s a lot of variables playing into it,” Duran said.

In the aquatic center there will be a 25-meter pool with eight lanes for lap swimming. Duran said they may have water aerobics and schools will be able to utilize it for practice and swim meets.

There is also a sizable leisure pool attendees can enjoy as well as a therapy pool with warmer water that will be housed in its own room. A shallower pool dedicated to kids could have a slide and some play structures.

Next to the play area, Duran said they plan on having a dive tank. Currently, they are thinking of having a rock wall there that kids can climb up and jump into the water from.

Daniel Fernandez field

The vibrant, green turf field recently implemented at the Los Lunas Sports Complex comes with a lot of benefits according to Duran, so the Daniel Fernandez field is following suit.

The field, located at Daniel D. Fernandez Memorial Park, is currently in the process of being resurfaced with artificial turf and redesigned to be more multiuse.

“It will have an in-field, so it looks more like a baseball field,” Duran said. “Beyond softball and baseball, we’ll also be able to do soccer and flag football. We can have tee-ball practice there too if we need the area.”

Duran said construction should be completed within the next month or two. The benefits of the artificial turf, Duran said, is that it significantly cuts down their water usage and allows for more playing time and usage throughout the year.

“Ever since we had the turf field at the Sports Complex we have had a lot more practices and games and less cancellations,” he said. “When it rains, we normally wouldn’t be able to go out for two to three days because the fields aren’t draining, but with the turf field, there’s a drainage system in place, so we can play the next day normally.”

Duran said another benefit is the artificial turf requires significantly less maintenance, as they’re not having to paint lines and mow anymore.

“We have to sweep it and things like that, but the maintenance on it is a lot less,” he said.

There are also four structures being built at the Sports Complex and the Daniel Fernandez park.

Two are picnic structures funded by the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration through their NM Regional Recreation Centers/Quality of Life Grant for $336,000. These structures are being constructed at the Sports Complex and should be done by the end of June.

The village of Los Lunas funded two more shade structures totaling $400,000 which are currently under construction, with one being built at the Sports Complex and the other at the Daniel Fernandez park.

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Felina Martinez was born and raised in Valencia County. She graduated from the University of New Mexico in 2021. During her time at UNM, she studied interdisciplinary film, digital media and journalism. She covers the village of Los Lunas, Los Lunas Schools, the School of Dreams Academy and the town of Peralta.