The Long Bridge Aquatics & Fitness Center, a modern swimming and training facility with more than 92,000 sq. ft. dedicated to complete wellness for all ages and abilities, will open its doors on August 23.
“Long Bridge is a resource that will help our community stay amongst the most fit in America,” Arlington County Board Chair Matt de Ferranti said. “A long and at times challenging community process has yielded a great outcome – a vibrant park in place of a brownfield. The centerpiece, the energy-efficient and spacious Long Bridge Aquatics & Fitness Center, will serve our community well for generations to come.”
Long Bridge, home to Arlington County’s only 50-meter pool with one-, three- and five-meter diving towers and tiered spectator seating overlooking the pool, is the new go-to facility for competitive swimming and diving events, community lap swimming, aquatics and fitness classes and other activities. The center also houses a leisure pool, featuring a water slide, indoor sprayground, lazy river and additional lanes for community lap swimming.
In addition to the aquatic elements, the center features an 8,000 sq. ft. fitness center with open fitness area for cardio and weights, group exercise rooms and two wet classrooms. Multi-purpose community rooms are available for classes and community events.
Access for All
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In 2019 The Boeing Company made a $10 million donation in Arlington County for Long Bridge Park and the Aquatics & Fitness Center. In recognition of this investment, Arlington named the fields at Long Bridge Park, as well as the 50-meter pool inside the Aquatics & Fitness Center, for Boeing. Additionally, active duty military families in the USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore’s (USO-Metro) service area will be able to get free admission to the center through USO-Metro thanks to a donation from The Boeing Company.
“We are thrilled to open the Long Bridge Aquatics & Fitness Center,” said Jane Rudolph, Parks & Recreation Director. “With a lot of input from the community, and tremendous effort by staff, we are proud to offer this facility and all its great amenities. There truly is something for everyone. We look forward to officially celebrating the opening in September!”
About the Facility
Design-Build services for Long Bridge Aquatics & Fitness Center and park expansion were provided by Coakley & Williams Construction, Inc. 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.
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.
About the Process
Long Bridge was the first time Arlington County used 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, 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.
About the Park
With beautiful views of Washington, DC, plentiful outdoor space and walks along the esplanade, Long Bridge Park is the perfect place to meet with friends and unwind. Located near I-395 along the Potomac River, the park features three full-size athletic fields, including the home field for Marymount University’s lacrosse and soccer teams, a misting playground and a great place to plane and train watch. There’s always something new to explore at Long Bridge.
Long Bridge Park, once referred to as the North Tract, was formerly a light industrial site. Arlington County’s remediation work excavated, screened, treated contaminated soil (where needed), reused soil onsite, put a clean soil cover in place and established site controls. More specifically, contaminated soil was excavated during the construction of park features and treated as necessary. The soil was reused in enclosed areas so contaminants are at levels below regulator-approved thresholds.
About the Sculpture
Nationally recognized artist Douglas Hollis designed Sky Column, an investigation of ephemeral monumentality. Tapered masts of stainless-steel tubing in the formation of a column project fifty feet high from the ground and appear to become one with the sky. At night, up-lights at the base of the artwork are programed to brighten and dim in response to real-time variations of the wind. When seen from afar, Sky Column serves as a beacon, attracting people to the park while creating a gathering place for visitors to the adjacent aquatic center.
In 2011, Hollis designed Wave Arbor, a two-part kinetic wind-activated sculpture located adjacent to the park’s fields. Each structure of the sculpture supports 22 kinetic wing-like elements that move in response to the wind and allow light to pass through them, creating shadows below. Lights at the end of each “wing” register the motion of the wind at night.
- 2008: Smart Growth Award from the Washington Smart Growth Alliance
- 2011: Best New Facility Award from the Virginia Recreation and Park Society
- 2011: Washington Building Congress Craftsmanship Award
- 2012: Community Appearance Award from the Community Appearance Alliance of Northern Virginia
- 2013: Merit Award from the American Society of Landscape Architects