Seattle Parks and Recreation unveils $100 million Green Lake Community Center

Coinciding with the third and final part of a series of public inquiries online open houseSeattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) recently released concept renderings from architectural firm Miller Hull Partnership and landscape architecture practice Berger partnership which show a new community center in the beloved and busy part of town green lake park.

Centered around a titular 259-acre freshwater lake in North Central Seattle, the Olmsted Brothers-designed green space was established in 1908 and is best known for the 2-lane, multi-lane recreational trail. 8 miles that encircles the lake and its wealth (sometimes surprisingsometimes causing panic) urban wildlife. Nestled along the eastern shore of the lake, the park’s existing art deco community center opened in 1928 while the adjacent indoor public swimming pool, Evans Pooldebuted in 1955.

Aerial view of the Green Lake Community Center and Evans Pool captured in 1995. (Seattle Municipal Archives/Flickr/DC BY 2.0)

The Green Lake Community Center, with a gym, dedicated meeting and activity spaces, a second-floor “game room” and restrooms/showers, is one of the oldest of the 26 community centers operated by the parks department. While its popularity has not waned, the hub of the nonagenarian district has been showing its advanced age for some time. A $750,000 multi-phase stabilization project is currently underway so it can remain open to the public and to date many repairs have been completed including a crucial roof repair, installation of a new pool pump and electrical upgrades. According to the SPR, new boilers and an improved ventilation system are next. Meanwhile, the community center and pool remain closed to the public due to the coronavirus pandemic.

While these much-needed repairs will keep the Green Lake Community Center and Evans Pool open for years to come, most Seattle residents have their eyes on what’s to come: a brand new center community which, at 90,000 square feet, will be three times the size of the current one.

interior rendering of a timber frame gathering place
An airy lobby will serve as a natural gathering place. (Miller Hull Partnership/Courtesy of Seattle Parks and Recreation)

As David Graves, a strategic adviser to the Department of Parks, told the Seattle Times, Green Lake’s new community center will cost between $100 million and $120 million, well over three times the cost of the most expensive community center built in the city’s history, a $32 million LEED Gold Recreation Center and Pool which debuted in Seattle’s southern neighborhood of Rainer Beach in 2013.

The spacious new Green Lake Community Center is expected to offer many of the same amenities as the existing facility while introducing new ones with the aim of introducing a wider range of programs and placing a greater emphasis on inclusivity and accessibility. The planning and preliminary design phases also come ahead of the scheduled opening next year of Roosevelt Station, a new light rail station that is part of Sound Transit’s Link Northgate extension. Located about 20 minutes on foot and less than 10 minutes by bike from Green Lake (also, somewhat confusingly, the name of a residential area that surrounds the lake to the north and east), the new station will lead without any doubt an influx of visitors to the already hugely popular park, which is not only Seattle’s busiest urban park, but the busiest in all of Washington.

exterior of a glazed building with wooden overhang
A west view of the Green Lake Community Center with its lake-facing community porch and second-floor event space. (Miller Hull Partnership/Courtesy of Seattle Parks and Recreation)

Concept drawings, as well as a preliminary layout plan created by Miller Huller Partnership and Berger Partnership, incorporates community feedback from two previous online open houses, held in May and late July.

On the first open house, over 4,000 attendees completed an accompanying survey and overwhelmingly responded that they would prefer the new community center remain in the same location as the existing one when presented with six sites of possible redevelopment around the lake. Although the new community center has a much larger footprint than the current facility, most of the existing park amenities that adjoin the redevelopment area – tennis courts, playgrounds, a boathouse and a swimming beach – will remain intact according to community recommendations gleaned from the second online open house. A sycamore-lined driveway connecting the community center and its main east entrance to East Green Lake Drive North will also be left intact. The existing playground and car park will however be redeveloped to make way for the new building and a large lawn which currently borders the playground will disappear completely.

site plan of a future gathering space with different activity zones
Level 1 floor plan (Miller Hull Partnership/Courtesy of Seattle Parks and Recreation)
community center floor plan
Level 2 floor plan (Miller Hull Partnership/Courtesy of Seattle Parks and Recreation)

As for the community center itself, the building will be bisected by a burgeoning “welcome room” with two pools, a spa, changing rooms and a party room on one side and a sports, a playground, a child care space, a sanitation station, and large activity space on the other. The second level will include a multipurpose event space with lake views and a panoramic terrace as well as a suite of dedicated activity rooms. Directly across from the park trail and swimming beach on the west side of the center facing the lake will be a large outdoor “community porch” and boardwalk. Also outside will be a new nature-themed adventure playground to the north of the new building and new basketball courts, exercise equipment, bocce courts and outdoor courts. air. table tennis tables to the south and east.

Ideas for additional gear are being solicited through a poll generated for the third online open house, which ends on December 4. That being said, some elements will likely be changed and tweaked as the redevelopment plan progresses from the original planning. phase and in the schematic design stage.

According to a project schedule shared by SPR, the design and permitting process will last until 2023, followed by a tendering phase. If the schedule holds, construction will begin in 2024 with an expected opening date of 2026. As indicated on the redevelopment and stabilization project websitebeyond the $1 million in funding secured to perform site analysis and begin initial design work, “the remaining dollars to complete the design and build the new center and pool have yet to be identified” .

As the Time pointed out, in 2017 the Parks Department floated the idea of ​​starting a public-private partnership with a non-profit operator, such as the YMCA, to help pay the heavy bill of replacing the aging Green Lake Community Center. Park. This idea, however, was finally shot down by community members concerned about the privatization of one of Seattle’s most valued public assets.

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