- County Board decides during Nov. 28 meeting
- Based on years of community interaction
- Construction could start as early as July 2018, with the new facility open in 2021
The Arlington County Manager is recommending the Arlington County Board approve a $54.7 million contract, and $5.3 million in contingency, to provide Design-Build services for Long Bridge Aquatics & Fitness Center and park expansion to Coakley & Williams Construction, Inc. (Coakley). The new facility will include the core programs that have been the mainstay of the planned aquatics facility and surrounding park improvements. These elements include a 50-meter pool; 1, 3 and 5-meter diving tower; family pool; health and fitness spaces; continuation of the Esplanade; public gathering spaces and casual use space; parking and environmental remediation.
“I think the community will be very pleased, possibly amazed, with the recommended design for the facility and park expansion,” said Arlington County Manager Mark Schwartz. “We had four very good options from extremely talented firms, but the Coakley proposal excelled in meeting the County’s design criteria that impacted operations, long-term maintenance and durability.”
The staff-developed design criteria included community feedback accumulated over the last five years, particularly from 2016, as well as direction from the Arlington County Board and input from the Long Bridge Park Advisory Committee that focused on programmatic, aesthetic and user needs. Additionally, the extensive design criteria included very detailed specifications on things such as materials, equipment, lighting and mechanical systems, and even descriptions of the various rooms in the facility. See a timeline on the entire Long Bridge Park project.
About the Design
Overall, Coakley’s design is simple and efficient with quality architecture and a strong connection to the Esplanade. It provides all of the elements required by the County without sacrificing core mechanical equipment, material choices and energy efficiency. It also includes an additional community room (at no additional expense). “It’s the best value and quality for the County,” said Schwartz.
The floorplan’s efficient layout minimizes circulation and maximizes program space. There is a generous deck surrounding the 50-meter pool, up to 18 feet on three sides and 24 feet on the fourth. This space was one of the most critical items identified by the swim community throughout the process. Other key aspects met by the design include a simple and obvious control desk, thoughtful separation between “wet” and “dry” users of the facility, and the ability to hold an event in the 50-meter pool while keeping the leisure pool open to the public. The concept also provides an open and welcoming lobby area.
During negotiations, the Coakley team agreed to revise its parking lot design to reduce the overall footprint. They will move the drive entrance further away from the Esplanade and reconfigure the plaza at the building entrance as well as improve the tree-lined walkway, casual use park space and pedestrian circulation around the north side of the building. These improvements address the main suggestions received during the October 2017 public feedback process.
About the Process
This marks the first time Arlington County will use the Design-Build approach for a new County facility. Design-Build is widely used by governments across the nation. In this approach, a competitive “design to budget process” establishes a budget at the outset of the project, which the contractor must not exceed.
Four firms met the criteria set by the County to compete for the award of contract. The Selection Advisory Committee (SAC), comprised of six staff and a community representative from the Long Bridge Park Advisory Committee, provided their recommendation to the County Manager based on written proposals, oral interviews, review of concepts, public feedback and negotiations.
Coakley will complete the design and construction documents through 2018. Construction may start as early as July 2018. One of the ways costs are managed in the Design-Build process is that construction may begin while some construction drawings are being finalized, therefore reducing the overall project duration and cost.
About Long Bridge Park
Long Bridge Park, north of Crystal City and adjacent to I-395, is a showplace of environmentally sound redevelopment of what was once a brownfield by the Potomac. The 30-plus-acre park features three full-size, multi-sport, lighted fields, walkways, an overlook with views of capital monuments, the Wave Arbor public art feature, a rain garden and more. It annually hosts the County’s July Fourth Celebration, Marymount University soccer and lacrosse home games and numerous tournaments and events.