Shared from the 6/3/2018 Hobbs News Sun eEdition

One of a Kind

CORE opens to rousing response from community


TOP: A small child is all smiles as he plays in one of the water areas during the CORE opening on Saturday. The CORE has free admission today from noon-6 p.m.


ABOVE: Hobbsans took good advantage of Saturday’s opening day.


LEFT TOP: NMJC nursing student Daisy Chavez, enjoys a nice walk on a treadmill during Saturday’s CORE opening.


LEFT BOTTOM: Hobbs Fire Battalion Chief Chris Davis watches the first child to slide down the Play Structure slide.



Abagail Lujan checks out the rowing machine during Saturday’s CORE opening in Hobbs.


A line forms to enter the CORE Saturday during opening day of the new facility.


The CORE’s lazy river offers the opportunity to get some water splashed on you from its waterfalls.

As they walked through the doors, their eyes looked upward and around and their jaws dropped.

Hundreds of Lea County residents got their first experience at the Center of Recreational Excellence (CORE) during Saturday’s official grand opening.

Located at the intersection of Lovington Highway and Millen Drive, the $63.5 million facility took almost two years to build. It is the culmination of a group of local governments, school boards and private entities which came together — all in the hopes of adding a state-of-the-art quality of life amenity to Hobbs.

Two hours into the opening, some of Lea County’s younger residents were impressed: “It’s awesome!” “It’s incredible!” “It’s cool!”

Those words came from the mouths of Amber Melton’s two daughters, Natalie and Skylar Humble, all of Lovington, and her 11-year old nephew Donovin Jimenez, of Hobbs.

“It’s is pretty awesome,” said Amber said. “We just got through coming out of the swimming pool area and now the kids want to jump on the playground set. What is great is that there is something for everyone in the family.”

As her mother talked, Natalie, age 7, eyed the three-story CORE Play Structure in the building’s center.

“I know exactly where I want to go next,” she said.

The family has no problem driving the additional 15-20 minutes to Hobbs to visit the CORE, something Skylar, age 8, hopes to happen more often.

“I hope we get to come here every day!” she said as she looked to her mom, searching for approval.

One person who has an easier opportunity for daily visits is Daisy Chavez, who is staying on the New Mexico Junior College campus as she completes her nursing education.

“I can walk her easily and it’s cheap,” Daisy said as she works out on a treadmill. “It’s nice for students who live on campus.”

24-year old Tuscon, Ariz., native said there is nothing like the CORE where’s she from, which makes her a bit envious of what Hobbs now has.

“I am done with my nursing in August,” she said. “I wish

I could stay. What I think is awesome is, even though I’m not a mom, I can stand here and work out and watch my kids play on the (CORE play structure).”

The entry line into the CORE started before 10:30 a.m. The first 300 in attendance received a free T-shirt. By the time the doors opened at 12:30 p.m., a line of people wrapped the north and western parts of the structure. CORE officials closed the door for the opening ceremony at 1:10 p.m. By the time the ceremony ended around 30 minutes later, a second line to get into the building had formed and again wrapped the north and western portion of the building.

“I know we have more than 400 people in the building for the opening ceremony,” CORE Marketing Director Lindsay Chism McCarter said Saturday afternoon. “There were more and more people coming in hours after the ceremony was over.”

During the ceremony, she stated the CORE would offer a significant change to Lea County.

“We believe that every individual in this room is a very important person for being a part of this amazing day,” she said. “Something that I believe is going to change the culture of Lea County and our guests who come to our communities for years and years to come.”

Chism was the first of a handful of elected officials and dignitaries who spoke about the CORE. One of the last to do such was Craig Bouck, principal and CEO of Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture, the Denver-based architectural firm that designed the CORE.

“This project is not normal,” he said. “In fact, this is truly a one-of-a-kind thing. There is nothing like this anywhere in the United States.”

Once the speeches were made and the ribbon was cut by CORE Director Catherine Vorrasi, the doors were opened to a group of anxious and excited people. Most of whom looked up, and around, with their jaws dropped.

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