Rec Center and pool feasibility study set to get started

On Nov. 16, the Fircrest City Council voted to approve a contract with ARC Architects to assess the condition of the Roy H. Murphy Recreation Center building and pool, and offer options for renovation or possibly replacement.

Background: The building and pool were constructed in the 1960s. The pool got an update in the 1990s thanks to voter approval of a park bond. Among other things, that bond paid for a liner that was supposed to last 10 years. We are now on year 18 or so.

In 2014, we approved something known in government circles as a PROS plan, which stands for Parks, Recreation and Open Space (scroll down this page to find links to it). Some of you will recall we had a couple of open houses and recorded lots of ideas for every one of our parks, which cover 27 acres over six sites. That plan didn’t address the future of the Rec Center and pool because that consultant was hired to help us craft an overall plan that serves as the foundation for grant requests and capital needs. The first priority identified in the PROS plan is to hire engineers and architects to assess the current building.

Which brings us to this update. As I reported, we approved a contract with ARC, which will provide concepts for building renovation, expansion or replacement. In turn, ARC has assembled the following team to supplement the architectural work:

  • Bruce Dees and Associates, landscape architecture.
  • AHBL, Civil Engineering: Reporting on utilities and drainage.
  • GeoEngineers, geotechnical study: This group will offer findings from two borings – one 15 feet depth and the other to 30 feet. The deeper boring will include a monitoring well to evaluate ground water fluctuations.
  • Counsilman Hunsaker, aquatic design consultant: Analysis and recommendations for existing pool design, liner and equipment, plus recommendations on additional aquatic features.
  • PCS Structural Solutions, structural engineering: Review of the existing building, including seismic capability, and recommendations for the renovation and addition options.
  • Interface, mechanical engineering: Review of mechanical and plumbing systems.
  • Travis Fitzmaurice, electrical engineering: Review of the building’s electrical systems.
  • DCW Cost Management: architectural and structural cost estimates for the renovation and addition options.

ARC was selected through a competitive bidding process by a committee consisting of a few councilmembers (I wasn’t on it) and city staff. The combined experience of this architecture and engineering team includes work on Rainier Beach Community Center and Pool in Seattle, Rosehill Community Center in Mukilteo, and STAR Center in Tacoma, among others. Also, Metro Parks (my employer) has hired ARC and Bruce Dees for the first phase of the proposed Eastside Community Center in Tacoma. In my limited experience with both companies (I’ve only worked at Metro Parks four months), both companies have been thorough and excellent.

This feasibility study will cost $104,000, which will come from one of our reserve funds. We’ve been holding the money for this project. The vote to approve the contract was 6-1, with Councilmember Jolibois the only vote against it.

You will play an important role in this project. The scope of work includes forming a steering committee and holding at least two public meetings. We want Fircrest residents to see the renovation, expansion and replacement options that are presented and tell us how you feel about them. We just hired the team this week, so I’ll share details about the public engagement as soon as they are set.

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