Arlington County Moving Forward with Long Bridge Park Phase 2

Published on April 25, 2017

  • Cost-effective design/build construction method

  • Design competition to include community involvement

  • Community-recommended core programs moving forward

Using a design/build approach, Arlington is moving forward with its Long Bridge Park Phase 2 project, County Manager Mark Schwartz said today. The project will include a scaled-down Aquatic, Health & Fitness facility and a competitive design process that will  involve the community. The design of the aquatic facility and 10.5-acres of the park will include all the core programs recommended by the Long Bridge Park Advisory Committee and already adopted by the County Board.

"We have looked long and hard to find a cost-effective way to move forward with completing Long Bridge park, including the Aquatic, Health & Fitness Facility," County Manager Mark Schwartz said.  "We've selected design/build as the best way to fulfill the vision for this unique park in the most cost-effective manner. We are eager to move forward and develop conceptual designs that the public will have an opportunity to weigh-in on this fall."


This will mark the first time Arlington County will use the design/build approach for a new County facility, although 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.

The new facility will include the core programs that have been the mainstay of the planned aquatics facility and surrounding park improvements. A menu of potential options recommended by the Long Bridge Park Advisory Committee and outlined in the FY 2017-2026 Capital Improvement Plan are to be considered if the contractor can add them within the agreed budget. The options could include advanced energy efficiency, a therapy pool, a 10-meter dive tower and more spectator seats, among other enhancements.

"This construction method allows us to accelerate the schedule," Schwartz said.  "At the same time, the design competition allows the County to leverage private industries' creativity and expertise and provides the community with an opportunity to participate in the design selection process."

Through its design competition, the County plans to narrow the field of firms competing for the contract to three or four finalists. Each will be paid a stipend to submit a proposed concept for the park and facility. The concepts then will be evaluated against the County's requirements. The public will be able to review the concepts and share feedback. The County Board will approve the final concept.

The budget for the total Phase 2 project, as approved by the County Board in the FY 2017-2026 Capital Improvement Plan, is $63 to $67 million, the amount of funding originally approved in 2012.  The final total will depend on decisions made during the design process.  The budget includes, in addition to the aquatics facility, an extension of the esplanade, rain gardens, public gathering spaces, parking, public art and additional environmental remediation.

Next steps

The next step is for the County to give firms the opportunity to submit their technical qualifications, which will be evaluated against established criteria.  Firms that qualify will be invited to submit a proposal this summer. Three or four firms who submit design concepts will be invited to participate in the design competition. The public will review the concepts in November 2017, with the Board then selecting the final design. construction is expected to begin in late 2018.

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 4 Celebration, Marymount University soccer and lacrosse home games and numerous tournaments and events.