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Third Public Input Meeting on Dulles South Center

Community members and architects hash out how the big pieces in the design for the Dulles South Multipurpose Center will fit together.

The Loudoun County Parks and Recreation Department and architectural firm Wisnewski Blair Associates of Alexandria, sponsored a community input and design workshop for the Dulles South Multipurpose Facility project last week.

Several community members attended to look at the latest concepts and to add their thoughts and concerns about the project's future.

Wisnewski project manager, Patrick Halpin, said they were happy to see peoples come out to the meeting.

"We hate working in a vacuum," he said. "The more interaction, the better this works. We want to know what they like and expect it to be so we can design a better building."

The entire proposed project — estimated to cost $30 million — consists of an already funded community center, a recreation center and a senior center.

Phase I, a $9 million, 23,000-square-foot community center with several multipurpose rooms, classrooms and child-program spaces, is expected to open fall 2007.

Phases II, the recreation center, and III, the senior center, are currently unfunded.

Bruce McGranahan, Parks and Recreation Facilities Development division manager, said the department requested funding for the project in the 2011 six-year Capital Improvements Program (CIP).

But it is uncertain if and when the project will be funded, he said.

"There is no estimated time frame because it's entirely up to the Board of Supervisors. They choose to fund it or not fund it. They could choose to do it later or bring it forward," he said. "We just don't know at this point. The only thing that's a certainty is the first phase."

The earliest the department will have some idea on the project's status and whether the new phases will be included in the new capital budget is next April, when the Board of Supervisors passes its budget.

"They have the discretion and authority to do it whenever they want to, if they want to approve it and move it forward in next year's budget then they can do it," McGranahan said.

Residents at the meeting discussed going before the board to express their concerns about funding for phases II and III.

Supervisor Steve Snow, (R-Dulles), said the board agreed to incrementally budget for projects like the Dulles South facility but he hopes to get funding for it soon.

"My expectation is that I get phases II and III budgeted this year," he said.

The need for this type of facility in the Dulles South area is high, he said.

Parks and Recreation Director Diana Ryburn agreed, adding that the community has outgrown Arcola Community Center — the only one in the area. She said there are substantial waiting lists for most of the programs because of a lack of space.

Plus, the recreation center is "not a component we have at Arcola," she added.

THE PROPOSED 67,400-square-foot recreation center, Phase II, will come complete with a high-school standard basketball court, indoor jogging track, several fitness rooms, weight and fitness equipment, and two pools — one for leisure and one for competition.

McGranahan estimates it will cost about $15 million to build Phase II. Phase III, a 20,000-square-foot senior center that will include an adult day-care component, will cost approximately $5 million, he said.

The entire facility will sit in a 30-acre park-like area approximately one half mile from Freedom High School on Riding Center Drive in South Riding.

McGranahan said there have been discussions about having a dog park, picnic facilities, walking trails and other recreational uses on the property as well.

At the meeting, the firm produced three different potential layouts for the three proposed components of the facility to give the community a chance to see how each of the major portions of the project would look in conjunction with each other.

Since the buildings will be built separately and at unknown intervals, it was important for them to make sure that the community center could stand alone.

Jon Guldenzopf, of Moody Nolan Inc. of Ohio, an associate firm assisting with the facility design, said they would use the input to generate a single, more concrete layout design.

The firm intends to hold one more public input session, during which it will display the layout of the three buildings that best fits the community's desires and also a design of what the community center might actually look like with columns, window treatments and defined entrances, Guldenzopf said.

After the fourth community input session, the architects plan to make a presentation before the Board of Supervisors.

Halpin said there would be a pool consultant at the next meeting — slated for Nov. 9 — to discuss the different types of things that can be done with the leisure pool.

"It's an exciting thing that's got a lot of possibilities," he said, citing a lazy river for adult exercise, slides and play features for children, as examples.

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