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Cub Run Rec Center Coming

$19.2 million facility is slated to open in Chantilly in January 2005

For far too long, Sully has been the only magisterial district in Fairfax County without its own rec center. But by January, that will no longer be the case.

Sixteen months have passed since the March 29, 2003 groundbreaking for the Cub Run Recreation Center in Chantilly and, since then, those responsible for its creation have been hard at work insuring that the final product will be something spectacular.

"We still have to finish construction, get staffing on board and get our programs put together," said Hal Strickland, Sully District representative on the county Park Authority. "But I'm excited because it appears that the rec center will be available to the public by the first of the year."

The $19.2 million, 94,000-square-foot facility is being built on 37.3 acres just north of Westfield High, bounded by Stonecroft Boulevard

and Cub Run. It will house a 25-meter competitive pool, separate leisure pool with slides and other amenities, whirlpool/spa, weight training and cardiovascular fitness areas, multipurpose rooms and offices. (Future plans include a second 25-meter pool, as funding materializes).

"A LOT OF people are asking me, 'When is it gonna open?' said Supervisor Michael R. Frey (R-Sully). "As the building goes up and progresses, anticipation is growing. It just becomes that much more real. It's unique and different from the other rec centers, and I have no doubts that, when it opens, people are going to love it."

Entering on the top floor, patrons will be able to turn left into the fitness area or right into multipurpose rooms. Administrative offices for a staff of about 12 will also be there, as will two large meeting rooms — which can become three via a moveable wall. They'll hold 243 people total and may be used for community events, after-school activities and rec-center programs.

The nearly 10,000-square-foot fitness area will be twice the size of those in other county rec centers. Also planned is a full security system with video surveillance so both the building's interior and exterior may be monitored.

Outside will be 5,000 feet of trail, with a stream crossing, plus concrete walkways. The two-level building will have glass sides up to the roof so patrons may view the forested hillside. Native stone on the exterior walls will blend in with the rocks outside.

Much of the site work is complete, and the base asphalt for the parking lot has been laid. (The rec center will have 300 parking spaces). And workmen have recently finished setting in place the trusses that hold up the ceiling in the pool area. They span the width of the pool without having to use intermediate columns.

The rough shell of the competitive pool has already been poured. The leisure pool is waiting its turn — until after the huge crane that erected the trusses is removed from it.

The new Cub Run Rec Center will also be the only pool in a Fairfax County facility with a drowning-detection system. It identifies if there's a problem and, through an alarm system, notifies the lifeguard.

Although the competitive and leisure pools will be adjacent to each other, a tall glass wall will separate them. Whereas boisterous children will be frolicking in their pool — and groups are even expected to have birthday parties there — competitive swimmers need quiet at the start of a meet, so this wall will block out most of the noise.

THE EQUIPMENT in the leisure pool can be changed and updated, from time to time, with different slides and amenities to keep it fresh and attractive to the patrons. At the start, there'll be two slides. The taller, 30-foot one will be fully enclosed and will go outside the building and swirl around there before returning through the wall and into the splash-down area. The lower, 21-foot-high slide has an open tube which spins around and deposits children into the main body of the leisure pool.

The water is zero feet deep at entry and 18 inches deep in the section containing a play structure — like playground equipment for pools — with water jets, cannons and sprays. Where children re-enter the water after coming down the slides, the level will be 3 1/2 feet. Also planned is a "lazy river," with slow-moving water; children may float along in it on a tube, or just be pushed along by the movement.

The leisure pool is designed to satisfy a wide age range. Older teens should like the higher slide, as well as the 'Vortex' — with water continuously moving in a circle, faster than the lazy river, and spinning them around. And there's even a warm-water spa/Jacuzzi with jets pushing out pumped water.

The fitness area will be 9,500 square feet and will have a FitLinx system helping users keep track of how long they've spent on the cardiovascular or strength-conditioning machines.

As things stand now, the closest rec center is Oak Marr in Vienna so, said Strickland, "This will allow people here to have their own facility with the most modern fitness equipment, leisure and competitive pools and a broad range of uses."