The new enclosed shelter house at Children’s Park is shaped by a goal: to encourage people and families of all ages to enjoy the park.
“We designed this shelter house to be a great space for people to gather, surrounded by green space and natural elements,” said Sioux Center Parks Director Lee Van Meeteren. “We want to get families into our parks, and enclosed shelter houses are a great way to do that.”
Van Meeteren said they are aiming for an early-July opening. The 2,500-square-foot shelter house features climate control for year-round use, accessible entry and restroom, sound absorbing features indoors like hanging light “clouds,” and a kitchen, plus a second bathroom. But best of all, Van Meeteren says, it has great views of the park.
“It’s amazing. You feel like you’re in the park. You look out the windows and see trees and open space,” Van Meeteren said. “I’m excited for people to get inside.”
The parking lot in front of the shelter house will be lit and paved for accessibility, with landscaping to keep the park feel. A parking lot to the east was removed and seeded to add green space and keep cars out of play areas.
The shelter house was designed with longevity in mind. Materials are maintenance-friendly, with a lifespan of half a century. Colors inside and out were picked to help the shelter feel like part of the park, also giving a pop of color to draw people in. Natural elements like trees and boulders will be added after the parking lot is paved.
Inside the shelter is a large common space for family and business events and meetings The Parks Department collaborated with Sioux Center Arts Director Suzie Doubet-Schuld on a side space for arts programs and classes.
“Suzie did a great job of making the art room accessible, designed for children to enjoy. It’s a great flexible space for classes and programs,” Van Meeteran said.
“We had to take trees out for this and we’re going to add just as many, added to enhance the features of the park,” Van Meeteren said.
Yet to be added is a sidewalk that loops around the green space. Van Meeteran said this adds accessibility, plus it offers a place to walk with strollers near where kids play – which people requested during park planning. New bathrooms will be added, in a spot near the playground, parking lot and trail.
“Everything is built to be accessible, with an ongoing vision to continue making the park more accessible to all along with play features and more,” Van Meeteren said. “We want to give people a lot of reasons to spend time in this park.”