Renovation of the Newton Activity Center, 415 N. Poplar, is nearly complete, though if it is done on schedule depends on who you talk to.

"We were shooting for September and right now are about a week ahead of schedule," said Brian Bascue, superintendent of the Newton Recreation Commission. "However, the contractor wanted to be done by Aug. 15, so to him, they are behind."

Bascue isn't complaining. He is smiling. A joyful spark comes to his eyes as he speaks of hosting a ribbon cutting Sept. 18 and an open house for families Sept. 20.

The smile grows when he walks into a nearly completed gymnasium with three resurfaced basketball courts which are also marked for volleyball and tennis. He beams when showing new equipment in the wellness center, and grins when walking into a renovated multi-purpose room upstairs.

The work is part of a $1.4 million project funded with $900,000 from reserve funds of the Recreation Commission and the remainder by an interest free loan from the city of Newton.

"We will be able to do more things upstairs," Bascue said. "It is a multi-purpose room. Before it was mostly Taekwondo and gymnastics. The facility is safer than it was before. We had cracks in the floor of the racquetball courts and the gymnasium. We have upgraded the electrical and added a better lighting system in the gymnasium."

Renovations include a new gym floor surface and gym lights; new racket ball court surface and court lights; gutting and renovating locker rooms, updating the corridor from lockers to the pool; updating the office/reception area; remodeling restrooms on the lower and main levels; demolishing and replacing the exterior stairway and patio area to the Wellness Center; replacing the pool deck and resurfacing the inside of the pool; replacing wood shingles in the pool with gypsum; remodeling the second floor exercise room and restroom; updating the first floor corridors, including new flooring; and pool mechanical system replacements.

The work is "99 percent" done — just some small details remain. Monday painters were trying to finish the walls of the gymnasium, a gymnasium which should open sometime this week.

"We are letting some adult walkers use it already," said Lori Guard Hein of the Rec Center.

There is a few other details to finish — like a variance from the city for the use of a new LED sign. That application is scheduled for Sept. 8.

Bascue said the project is close to budget, despite the replacement of a broken water line and electrical lines. Not all of the bills are in for the project. That will happen in September.

"I think people will really enjoy this facility and the additions we have made," Bascue said.