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Kirkland Park Board to recommend North Kirkland Community Center site for new aquatics center

The Kirkland Park Board recommended the North Kirkland Community Center site for a new aquatics center.  - Reporter file photo
The Kirkland Park Board recommended the North Kirkland Community Center site for a new aquatics center.
— image credit: Reporter file photo

The city of Kirkland Park Board will recommend the North Kirkland Community Center site for a new aquatics facility. The recommendation will be formally made to the Kirkland City Council during its regularly scheduled meeting on April 1.

During the Park Board meeting at Kirkland City Hall, the board took public comment and heard a presentation by staff on each location.

About 15 people spoke during the public comment portion of the meeting and the board decided between three locations, which also included South Norway Hill Park and Juanita Beach Park. All but one member of the board voted in favor of recommending the community center site. The board member who voted against the measure wanted to keep the Juanita Beach Park site an option.

"Those of us on the Renew the Legacy Committee and the larger aquatics community are very pleased about this," said Rob Martin, who is an avid swimmer and was in attendance for the meeting.

Members of the aquatics community, along with representatives from WAVE Aquatics, were among the 50-60 people in attendance for the meeting.

The Park Board also will recommend the largest of the options for the 5.5-acre site, which would include a 72,000-square-foot aquatic and recreation center with a 50-meter pool. That recommendation is less important, as funding for the project has not been secured.

The larger facility could include one court gym, a fitness room, wood floor studio, community kitchen, child-watch activity room, multipurpose classroom, eight-lane lap pool with diving, recreation pool, spa/warm water therapy, seating for 250 and a special events room, among other features.

The site recommendation is based on the need for a new facility, as the Juanita Aquatic Center at Juanita High School is reaching the end of its useful life. It is also based on community input and communication with WAVE Aquatics representatives, which currently manages the Juanita Aquatic Center and has expressed its desire to be apart of any plans for a new facility. WAVE has also initiated a fundraising campaign for a new facility.

The need for a new pool is great within the Lake Washington School District, as both Juanita High School and Lake Washington High School aquatics programs use the pool for meets and practice, along with the community as a whole through WAVE's management. Inglemoor High School and Bothell High School, which are a part of the Northshore School District, also utilize the facility.

City officials are also considering the feasibility and a cost analysis study on converting Peter Kirk Pool, in downtown Kirkland, to year-round use as an interim solution if the city cannot finish a new aquatic center by 2017, when the Juanita Aquatic Center is projected to close.

City Council members removed the Mark Twain Park, Snyder’s Corner Park and the former Juanita Albertsons sites from consideration due to challenges with size, accessibility and land acquisition.

The North Kirkland Community Center site still faces some huge hurdles besides funding. The site is a tight fit and has a steep slope to the land, requiring a three-level recreation/aquatic center. A traffic signal and left turn lane would also need to be installed, making the North Kirkland Community Center the most expensive in terms of construction cost.

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