At the second public meeting regarding the Chinquapin Swim Center feasibility study, which took place on Sept. 3 at the T.C. Williams High School Cafeteria, the consultant team presented the results of the community survey and highlighted three potential layouts that meet the city’s major criteria and accommodate feedback that they’ve collected.
The Hughes Group recommended expanding Chinquapin to a 33,674-square-foot facility that would include a 50-meter pool, spectator seating, meeting space, new offices for aquatics staff, equipment space and storage. Meanwhile, the current pool would transform into a recreational pool. The new 50-meter pool would allow for eight, 50-meter lanes or 22, 25-yard lanes and provide seating for approximately 400 people. The meeting space could be used for instructional or event purposes.
Their recommendation is based on several surprising results from the community survey. First, Alexandria appears to have three times the national average of core aquatic users. This was deduced by comparing Alexandria’s demographics to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association’s data and the community survey results. Second, the community survey showed that lap and recreational swimming ranked third and fifth respectively as top priorities for recreational services. In the consultants’ opinion, based on other surveys they have done in other markets, lap and recreational swimming don’t typically rank this high, which means aquatics is highly valued in Alexandria. Third, in their research of similar markets they found aquatic centers of similar size and programing to be successful in achieving at least an 80 percent cost-recovery of their operations. Meeting this cost-recovery goal is the city’s highest criteria for the project.
After explaining the data that proves there is a high, unmet demand for the facility, The Hughes Group highlighted three potential schemes for the layout of the facility:
#6: Places the 50-meter pool to the left of the current facility and parallel to the service road.
#10.2: Places the 50-meter pool to the left and parallel to the current facility, but will require some movement of the loop road at Chinquapin. It’s important to note that the loop road was already planned to be relocated as part of the Citywide Parks Improvement Plan.
#11: Places the 50-meter pool inside the circle at Chinquapin, meaning this new pool would be a separate facility from the current building.
Participants then broke into groups and discussed these three possibilities. Each group was asked to rate how they felt each of the schemes addressed major issues such as access to parking, impact to the existing park land, the visibility of the facility from the street and how the buildings related to one another. The groups then ranked the schemes in order of their overall preference.
By the end of the calendar year a final recommendation and cost estimate is expected. A third public meeting is being scheduled for November or early December. To view the data and schemes presented at this most recent meeting, click here.