Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture was selected by Lewisville’s city manager, and approved Monday night by the city council for the design of the planned $38 million multigenerational and aquatic center at Memorial Park.
The 90,000 square–foot facility, approved by voters in the 2015 bond package election, will combine the uses and amenities of the current Senior Activities Center with the Memorial Park Recreation Center.
But unlike it was originally conceived, the new facility will not actually combine those actual existing buildings.
Change of Plans
“We know we’ve got foundation problems with the senior center,” said Parks and Leisure Services Director Bob Monaghan. “We know the two elevations, the floor of the two buildings are at different levels. We know we have aging HVAC systems in the two buildings.”
“How do you tie all of this together and meet the new energy code, and have a quality building?” he said. “It became apparent to us that we would end up with a much better building if we started from scratch, and we feel like we’d actually be saving money instead of trying to retrofit the old buildings,” he explained.
Recreation Manager Hilary Boen elaborated: “The architect we’re using took a physical look at the actual buildings. They also showed the committee, which involved all the different departments of the city, what the reusable space would actually be.”
“They were trying to be as generous as possible, but they would still have to reinforce the reusable areas, and there is a lot of retrofitting to the new energy code,” she said. “When you really got down to everything looking at the cost of what we were trying to save as far as reusable areas, it really didn’t make sense,” she added.
Monaghan said the salvageable parts of the old buildings would amount to only about 20% of the final product.
Boen and Monaghan both noted the improved possibilities with a start–from–scratch concept. “Now the design is so much more open,” said Boen. “We basically now have a blank slate and we can envision it however we want. Whereas, the other buildings, we had definitive things we were trying to keep and maintain. We want people to kind of imagine the possibilities and see where they can take it,” she said.
Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture (BRS) was selected for the design contract for the facility.
Boen explained that BRS was chosen because of their prior work building the Grapevine multi–generational center, “The REC of Grapevine.” She said that had been a situation where they built onto an existing building. Initially that was Lewisville’s plan for its multi-gen center.
“We needed someone who was familiar with that sort of building, as well as someone who is familiar with the multi-generational concept,” said Boen. “They actually built the first multi-generational center about 20 years ago, and their buildings are all over the country,” she said.. She said the firm had just broken into the Texas Market, and that their first multi-generational center they designed was in Westminster Colorado, about 20 years ago.
“City Council was very impressed with what they did at Grapevine,” said Boen.
BRS’ contract with the city will pay them $3.6 million for the design, or a little over 9 percent of the total cost.
Along with the design of the multi–generational and aquatic facility, the firm will also complete a feasibility study for a possible future nature park across the street in the 19 acres on the southeast corner of Corporate and Valley Parkway.
The city bought that land in 2014, but no funding has been approved for the nature park.
“It’s more of a design concept,” explained Boen.
“The idea is to get an overall arching theme between the new multi-generational center and what is to be the nature park across the street— instead of coming back later and designing it and having it maybe be a little disjointed.
The multi-generational rec center was pitched to the voters as a place containing the amenities of the Senior Activity Center, and the Memorial Park Recreation Center. These would include a dedicated space for seniors, a family lounge, gymnasiums, child care area, indoor playground, indoor walking trail, increased parking, and more. The voters also approved an indoor swimming pool.
The next step in the process is to hold community meetings for the public to provide input to the architects.
Boen said the city would try to hold public meetings as soon as possible to get that public input. Mid- to late-October would be worst–case scenario. “The sooner we have those, the sooner we can progress, and the more bang for the buck we can get.”
Boen said what the committee currently envisions is the new building being located north of the existing building. “But, we won’t have any real final answers until after the public input meetings where the architects will get the input from the public,” said Boen. “That will influence the design and layout of the building, and we’ll have a better idea of how it would be situated after that point.”
The time–frame for the multi-generational center’s construction would be to begin in mid-May 2018, with a potential opening in fall, 2019.
The city will use the construction–manager–at–risk method of project delivery, where the contractor provides a set price for their fees and general conditions. That firm, once selected, would provide a not-to-exceed cost for the project. If the actual cost goes over the estimate, the contractor covers the difference. If it comes in under estimate, the city would realize the savings.
The construction firm would be selected early in the design process.
“The construction firm will come in during the design process and help what they call ‘value engineer’, so that we can get a quality product at a reasonable price,” said Boen. “They look and make suggestions on how something might change and make a significant impact on what everything is costing.”
Ideally, the city would like to be able to keep the current facilities open during the process. Boen said the city could save money by using in-house resources to demolish the existing facilities once the new building is completed and opened.
Monaghan said that although the park will lose some open space due to the new building and its required parking, the goal is to still maintain as much open space as possible.
Boen was upbeat about the possibilities with the new building. “I don’t even know that excited contains everything,” she said.
“I feel like I have more question marks than anything else for people right now,” said Boen.
“We’re very excited about it, and I’ve been personally speaking with the seniors as regularly as I can to update them. I know there’s a lot of support and excitement there for a new center and what it could be.”
Stay tuned to The Lewisville Texan Journal for further updates on the process, and dates for the public meetings.