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September 21, 2021
Seattle Parks and Recreation is in the final phase of planning for the replacement of the community center and pool at Green Lake — one of the most trafficked parks in the city. Architecture firm Miller Hull Partnership and landscape architecture practice Berger Partnership are leading the redesign.
The plan is to build a new 90,000-square-foot, two-story community center at the site of the existing one. The new building will be three times the size of the current center but will maintain many of the original center's amenities, with new ones added.
The new center will have a large welcome hall that bisects the space. To one side of the hall there will be two swimming pools, a spa, locker rooms and a party room. To the other side, there will be a gym, play area, childcare space, public hygiene station and large activity space. The design would allow the gym and hygiene center to be used as a bad-weather homeless shelter in times of need. The second level will feature a versatile event space with lake views and a wraparound terrace along with a suite of dedicated activity rooms. There will also be a large outdoor “community porch” and promenade that faces the park's trail and swimming beach.
To the north of the building, there are plans for a nature-themed adventure playground, basketball courts, exercise equipment and bocce courts. Outdoor ping-pong tables are planned to the south and east. Most of the existing park amenities that neighbor the redevelopment area, such as tennis courts, playfields, a boathouse and swimming beach, will remain untouched. A sycamore walkway that leads to the current building will also remain untouched.
The conceptual designs were developed with the help of community input from three online open houses in 2020. Following the feedback, the project is now in phase two of its design phase. The project team will now begin schematic designs and identify project costs.
The team recently applied for landmark status for the existing center. It is expected that this will not be granted for an over 90-year-old property that, according to Seattle Parks and Recreation, is “at the end of its usable life.” SPR is currently working on a stabilization project for the center so it can be safely kept open before construction on the new one begins. In 2019, the department completed work that included a crucial roof repair, building electrical improvements, gym floor leveling and refinishing, and replacement of the pool pump. The current stabilization project is to replace the boilers and the air-handling system.
The Green Lake Community Center and Evans Pool is one of the oldest and most popular community centers in the city. It was built in 1928 and designed by E.R. Hoffman. The total cost for the new Green Lake Community Center is estimated at $100 million to $120 million. This would make it the most expensive community center to be built in the city's history. The city has already spent $1 million from real estate excise taxes to undertake the site analysis and begin design work. The remaining dollars to complete the design and construct the new center and pool have not yet been identified. The stabilization project will cost $750,000.
According to SPR's website the rest of the project schedule is to be determined. Miller Hull's website records an estimated completion date of 2026.
(Update: Since publication, the City of Seattle has informed the DJC that the project is currently on hold and not yet in the schematic design phase. The design has also undergone significant changes. )
Emma Hinchliffe can be reached by email or by phone at (206) 622-8272.