NEWHALL – If there was any doubt a bigger community center was overdue in Newhall, the 750 people who in one week nabbed more than half of the new $7 million center’s openings all but erased it. Many took a number and waited for up to two hours to claim a free membership, enroll in the free after-school program and low-cost classes. Eighty percent of the classes are full and many popular ones have wait lists. “I think we could build a building twice the size and fill it up in two weeks,” said Hope Horner, the Santa Clarita Community Center’s supervisor. “We had anywhere from 125 to 225 sign-ups a day.” Sign-ups were first come, first serve. Horner anticipated the rush and expects maximum capacity – 1,200 memberships – to be filled by Thursday. On Jan. 21, the center’s operations moved from a rundown 7,000-square-foot warehouse to the 17,000-square-foot facility across from the Jan Heidt Newhall Metrolink Station. The center’s $491,000 annual budget is covered by the city’s general fund, and a number of sponsors help underwrite events and miscellaneous costs. Horner estimated 75 percent of the participants are first-timers who live in the adjacent neighborhood and Valle Del Oro. Membership cards bearing a photo on the front and bar code on the back will be scanned with each visit, helping Horner track the hot and not-so-hot offerings. Sports programs, art classes, an adult aerobics class, English-as-a-Second-Language classes and teen groups have topped the popularity list so far. Seventeen kids are on the wait list for the karate class and 18 adults are waiting for dropouts in the morning ESL class. Judy O’Rourke, (661) 257-5255, [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORESanta Anita opens winter meet Saturday with loaded card The award-winning Ballet Folklorico program has grown to include a beginner’s recreational class along with the established performance program. Members had to show up in person, and in some cases that was no small order. “One family signed up about nine people, including mom and dad,” Horner said. After-school offerings include arts and crafts classes, homework help and recreational games. Some kids’ classes cost $5 and the adult aerobics class costs $10 for 10 weeks. The fees help cover the cost of materials. Not-for-credit ESL, computer and citizenship classes, provided in partnership with College of the Canyons, run 17 weeks and are free.