Question: Why are the cities of Maple Valley and Covington doing this study and what will come out of it?
Answer: A facility condition assessment for the aging Covington Aquatic Center was conducted in early 2018. In the process, it was learned that the cost to renovate the 43-year old facility exceeds its value. Also acknowledged is that the demand upon this facility and needs of the community are much different from when it opened its doors in 1977; a replacement facility would be able to better meet present day (and anticipated future) demands and needs.
Recognizing the need to replace this regional facility and with support from local city councils and legislators, the Washington Department of Commerce provided a grant of $1,050,000 to study the feasibility of a new aquatic and recreation center. This will provide the Covington and Maple Valley communities necessary information to evaluate options and recommendations regarding a future aquatic and recreation center and begin the design process for construction estimates.
The grant scope is rather general but does specify “a future aquatic and recreation center” so it is important to include both aquatic and recreation components.
An RFQ (or Request for Qualifications) process was completed in the fall of 2019 and ALSC Architects was determined to be the most highly qualified firm among 12 submittals. Working with city staff from Maple Valley and Covington, ALSC has assembled a robust consultant team and scope of work which will result in recommendations based on a market analysis, business plan, and programming assessment that reflects public interests and leading industry standards. The study will evaluate land sites in the area, consider capital financing strategies, and assess sustainable operation models.
As part of this study, a public process will be led by a consensus-building Steering Committee. A final report from the study will be presented to both city councils in 2021 to evaluate next steps.
Question: What are the main steps or products of the study?
- Community Outreach
- Market Analysis
- Business Plan
- Program Facility and Spaces
- Site Analysis
- Design Concepts
- Funding Plan
- Cost Benefit Analysis and Impact
Question: What is the purpose of the Steering Committee?
Answer: The Steering Committee is a representative group of area residents, selected to represent the local interests expressed during the team’s early investigation.
Their four meetings will occur throughout the study, mostly to provide direction on milestone products such as the ideal recreational facility, location, and potential operations.
Their public meetings as well as community wide workshops will be mostly scheduled around the third Tuesday and Thursday evenings of October, November, and the final two in early 2021.
Question: Who is on the the Steering Committee?
Answer: Community members with enthusiasm who most widely represent the ideas and interests expressed during the first round of surveys. Geographic, demographic, and availability considerations also went into the into the selection process, lead by the consultant team.
The committee consists of 15 consensus builders while those who expressed singular or specific interests are encouraged to join stakeholder focus groups to review specific recreational items, i.e. swimming community needs or senior citizen programing. The list of members can be found in their adopted Charter.
Question: What other considerations or expectations are there for determining feasibility of an indoor aquatic/recreation facility?
Answer: The study must acknowledge feature/amenity preferences from survey efforts as well as other considerations for designing a facility. Other considerations will be a market analysis (what is in demand/need), operation/business plan (some features, amenities and programs will have higher cost recovery rates than others), funding (what funding level will the public support?), and a cost/benefit analysis of the final recommendations made by the Project Steering Committee.