Board Approves Long Bridge Aquatics Fitness Center, Park Expansion Co

Published on November 28, 2017

  • $60 million contract to complete Phase 2 of Long Bridge Park
  • Coakley & Williams Construction, Inc. wins competitive design-build bid
  • Construction could begin as early as July 2018

The Arlington County Board today approved a $60 million contract with Coakley & Williams Construction, Inc. to complete Phase 2 of Long Bridge Park, including the design and building of the Long Bridge Aquatics & Fitness Center, Arlington's first free-standing aquatics center.

The project also will include development of 10.5 acres of the park, including environmental remediation, continuation of the Esplanade, public gathering areas and casual use space, one or more rain gardens, parking and other associated infrastructure. This new phase of the park is expected to open to the public in late 2020/early 2021.

"This is the culmination of 10-plus years of planning," Arlington County Board Chair Jay Fisette said. "As our transformation of a brownfield into a vibrant park is fulfilled, we should all be very proud that a long and sometimes challenging community process has yielded such a great outcome. The centerpiece of this project will be an attractive, energy-efficient aquatics and fitness facility that will serve our community for generations."

The Board voted 4 to 1 to approve the contract. Board Member John Vihstadt voted no.

Pool big enough for multiple, simultaneous uses

The aquatics center will visually connect to the Esplanade that is one of the best-loved features of Long Bridge Park, which lies on the north end of Crystal City and offers Potomac views. Coakley & Williams winning design for the Aquatics & Fitness Center featured simple, energy efficient, quality architecture. A deck, up to 18 feet on three sides and 24 feet on the fourth, will surround the 50-meter pool. The pool will offer one, three and five-meter diving, and will be large enough that even when swim events are taking place, lanes will be open to the public. The facility also will include a second leisure/family pool, a fitness center and community rooms.

About design-build

This is the first time the County has used the design-build approach to build a new facility. The approach, used across the country, establishes a budget at the outset of the project which the contractor cannot exceed.

Four firms met the criteria set by the County to compete for the contract. The County's Selection Advisory Committee, made up of six staff and community representatives, vetted the proposals and made recommendations to the County Manager based on written proposals, interviews, concept review, public feedback and negotiations.

Construction of Phase 2 of Long Bridge Park's development may begin as early as July 2018, after the design and construction documents are completed.

About Long Bridge

Long Bridge Park is bounded by I-395 on the west, Roaches Run Wildfowl Sanctuary on the east, 6th Street South to the south and the George Washington Memorial Parkway to the north. The County first envisioned transforming the former "North Tract" site, an environmental brownfield, into a multi-use community park in 1993.

The County Board approved the initial concept for the park in 2004. Arlington County voters approved $50 million for the first phase of design and construction as part of the November 2004 Park Bond Referendum. Development of the park is identified as one of five key objectives in the 2005 Public Spaces Master Plan, an element of the County's Comprehensive Plan.

Arlington voters approved a park bond referendum that included $42.5 million for Phase 2 of the park. That funding, combined with a $15 million developer contribution in the form of Transfer of Development Rights is being used to complete Phase 2.

Public engagement

The public has been engaged with the development of Long Bridge Park for more than a decade. For this latest phase, staff developed design criteria that included community feedback collected over the past five years, direction from the Board and recommendations from the Long Bridge Park Advisory Committee about programming, aesthetics and user needs.

To read the staff report, scroll down to item No. 51 on the agenda for the Tuesday, Nov. 28, 2017 Recessed County Board Meeting. For a full history of Long Bridge Park's development, visit the County website.