Published: Oct 25, 2013 3:40 PM EDT
Updated: Oct 25, 2013 3:44 PM EDT

NORTH FORT MYERS, Fla.- The brand new North Fort Myers Recreation Center opened to the public with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Friday.

Hundreds of people turned out to satisfy their curiosities, stepping foot in the 35,000 sq. ft. structure for the very first time.

"We saw as it as it was being built back about a month or so ago, and when we came back this morning it was absolutely breathtakingly beautiful," North Fort Myers resident Adam Schweikert said.

In a matter of minutes, people were already signing up for fitness memberships and roaming the halls and many meeting rooms.

"It's going to be such a cohesive force for the neighborhood, all ages, all segments, all types of activities," Community Planning Chairman Mike Land said.

People lobbied for a community center for years until Lee County moved to use almost $10 million of capital improvement project funds to pay for the center, which will double as an additional hurricane shelter in times of emergency.

The recreation center is located off U.S. 41, north of Pine Island Road.

Other features include:
-2 multi use courts that can be used for basketball, volleyball or badminton games
-weight room
-5 multi-purpose rooms
-computer lab
-back porch to watch events
-built to withstand 150 mph winds