By Emily Wolfe Explore Big Sky Managing Editor

BIG SKY – The group leading an effort to build two major new facilities in Big Sky is holding a public meeting on Jan. 20.

Funded by a $50,000 resort tax grant, the local nonprofit Big Sky Community Corp. this year hired Isaac Sports Group and USAquatics to complete a recreation facility feasibility study. In its initial proposal, the consulting group suggested building two facilities: a combined aquatic and recreation center, and a combined ice and rodeo arena.

The consultants visited in July 2013, gathering information on existing facilities and programs and reviewing site options. On this five-day return trip they will again meet with interested parties and user groups, as well as key stakeholders, developers, and potential partners and donors.

Representatives from ISG/USAquatics also plan to inspect potential sites, and visit other local fitness facilities.

The consultants have been working with subcommittees led by BSCC to review energy efficient options, develop detailed site layouts, review potential grants, and develop cost comparisons and options.

While subcommittees of the rec center group discussed different ways of fundraising for and operating the facilities, BSCC staffers have been researching comparable facilities in other resort towns.

BSCC Project Coordinator Emily O’Connor spoke with representatives from the Gypsum Recreation Center, in Eagle County Colorado near Vail, which has a joint ownership and operating agreement between the town and the recreation district, as well as a recreation center in Whitefish that’s owned by a nonprofit, but run by a professional management group.

BSCC is reaching out to a number of different recreation facilities like these in similar-sized resort towns, including those run by private sector businesses; the findings will be presented at the public meeting.

Also at the meeting, the consultants will give a presentation on the facilities they’ve drawn up, said BSCC Executive Director Jessie Wiese.

“[They will explain] how they came up with what they came up with, and some of the dollar amounts associated with each of the details of what goes into the buildings,” Wiese said.

The meeting will be Jan. 20 from 5-7 p.m. in the Bighorn Room at Bucks T-4.

Questions? Contact Big Sky Community Corp. Executive Director Jessie Wiese at jessie@bsccmt.org.