An array of blinking and beeping arcade games await players just footsteps from the front door of Fort Frenzy.
Farther inside, a dark laser tag arena, complete with nooks and crannies where combatants can hide, is just about ready for its first action. Boxes of new roller skates are stacked near the Cardiff Center, the facility's combination skating rink and banquet room.
The smell of fresh pizza wafting from the Fort Dodge entertainment center's snack bar filled one side of the building on a recent afternoon as workers continued to finish up last-minute details. Outside, concrete fixtures reveal the outlines of a miniature golf course and an area where large slingshots will be used to launch water balloons.
-Messenger photo by Hans Madsen
Melissa Donahe, of Fort Dodge, checks out the giant four-person PacMan game at the Fort Frenzy fun center during a tour of the facility with her Leadership Iowa group Thursday.
On Dec. 9, the doors will open for a grand opening event, according to Todd McCubbin, the vice president and managing partner of TJK Entertainment LLC, the Fort Dodge firm that owns the center.
''Come and give us a try,'' he said. ''It's going to be a great place for the community.''
Although the center at First Avenue South and 32nd Street was created to be a place where people, especially young people, can have fun, it will serve three larger roles for the community, according to McCubbin.
He said it will be a safe place for kids of all ages. He said there are 75 security cameras scattered throughout the property.
McCubbin added that it ''increases the regional draw for local businesses'' by attracting more people to the community.
Lastly, he said, the center will serve as a place for Fort Dodge to come together.
''We want that town square feeling,'' he said.
The center's creation fulfills a dream of Tim and Kellie Guderian, of Fort Dodge. The couple won a $220.8 million Powerball lottery jackpot six years ago and started thinking about community projects they could do.
Tim Guderian has often said he started with the concept of a roller-skating rink and the project evolved into a family entertainment center with multiple features.
The Guderians teamed up with Todd and Joyce McCubbin, of Fort Dodge, to implement the center plan. They formed TJK Enterprises, which was recently renamed TJK Entertainment LLC.
Plans for the entertainment center were announced in October 2012. A former warehouse was purchased late that year and has been converted into the entertainment center.
McCubbin declined to say how much money was spent to create the center.
He said 57 people are employed there. Five of them, he said, are fulltime. The rest are parttime.