Hillside Recreation Center’s grand re-opening something to dance about

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Hillside Recreation Center,  long a favorite among El Cajon families, celebrated a grand re-opening last week. The 40-year-old center received a much-needed upgrade and facelift.
The building exterior, courtyard, gymnasium and HVAC system were all updated. More ADA parking spaces were added as well. The game room is equipped with new pool, ping pong and foosball tables. Voter-approved Proposition J made the project possible.

Hillside Recreation Center,  long a favorite among El Cajon families, celebrated a grand re-opening last week. The 40-year-old center received a much-needed upgrade and facelift.
The building exterior, courtyard, gymnasium and HVAC system were all updated. More ADA parking spaces were added as well. The game room is equipped with new pool, ping pong and foosball tables. Voter-approved Proposition J made the project possible.
Neighbors and friends gathered in the attractive new gymnasium to watch the presentation of colors by the Navy Sea Cadets of El Cajon Valley High School.
“Now I know we are all looking forward to a great performance by TNT,” said Frank Carson, recreation services manager.
Melissa Bell was one of many proud parents waiting for the performance to begin.
“This is good news about the remodel. The center used to have an outdated appearance. It looks better on the outside, and the gym has all new floors and attractive photos up on the walls. It really makes a big difference,” said Bell. 
“There’s always been a lot of good things going on here at Hillside. Now it’ll be even better,” she said.
After the performance, Carson spoke to the audience again. “Those wonderful new acoustic panels really help, don’t they?”
Sara Ramirez, director of recreation, agreed.
“Wow!” she said. “I can remember in 1998 when I was the center supervisor, I’d always hear people ask the same questions: We’ve got all that and more now. Most important, we have Wi-Fi. We are the first of the recreation centers to have it.”
Hillside Recreation Center’s renovation was made possible by the leadership of El Cajon City Council, Ramirez pointed out.
“The new office design allows our staff to be more efficient. We thank the council for your constant support and for recognizing that the recreation center is central to the health of our community,” Ramirez said to Councilmembers Tony Ambrose and Star Bales.
Ambrose replied, “What’s better than a 20th century recreation center? A 21st century rec center, of course. And the new construction will prevent the building from ever sliding downhill.”
Bales said she felt honored to be part of the celebration. 
“I have my own memory from years ago. We’d stop here and have our kids do their homework. It was a good practice. This place is like a home for people. And even more now, with these nice earthy colors that make it homey,” Bales said.
Besides gymnastics, Hillside Recreation Center is the go-to place for all kinds of classes, including for tiny tots, in arts, tumbling and cheer. The center is also available for birthday parties and other events.
For more information, go to www.elcajonrec.org.

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