Aquatics facility feasibility study continues in Bellevue

City council received an update on the feasibility study for a possible Aquatics Center.

The Bellevue city council received an update on the feasibility study for a possible aquatics center at its April 22, study session.

Patrick Foran, director of Parks and Community Services, gave his final presentation to the city council before his retirement.

The goal for the project is to create a modern facility that will meet all the aquatic-related needs of the community, from its use for sports to features promoting health and wellness. The core principles of the study state that the facility will also be positioned as a community hub.

The existing Bellevue Aquatics Center was built in 1970, but as the population has grown substantially the aging center can no longer meet the demand from a significantly larger population. A feasibility study looking at a new facility was presented to the council, but after additional work any potential partners said they were unable to pursue the project.

Almost a decade later, Foran said, regional interest in an aquatics center was renewed, and in 2018 the council approved a $250,000 consultant contract with ARC Architects to inform council decisions on how to pursue the project. A new facility was also part of the council’s 2018-2020 vision.

The city is currently in contact with potential organizations who have expressed interest in partnership opportunities, such as Bellevue School District and Bellevue College, to help bring the aquatics facility plan to fruition.

The work done to date as part of the feasibility study includes public outreach to users and identifying program needs from groups with the help of advocacy group SplashForward. Some of the other work Foran listed included evaluation of capacity, size and development issues of potential locations, outreach to the potential partners, and collecting financial, market and programming information from other comparable aquatics facilities.

In looking for a location for the proposed building, Foran explained the city needs four to seven acres for the project. The variation is due to differences necessary in the project goes with a structured parking lot or surface parking.

A site analysis is being conducted for locations at Bellevue College Campus, along the Grand Connection route near Lincoln Center, Marymoor Park and Airfield Park. Additional sites may be introduced as the study proceeds, Foran said.

No action was taken by the council at the meeting, but it will review developing information on the study at future city council meetings.

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