Coinciding with the third and final installment of a series of public feedback-seeking online open houses, Seattle Parks and Recreation (SPR) recently released conceptual renderings from architecture firm Miller Hull Partnership and landscape architecture practice Berger Partnership that show a new community center at the city’s cherished and heavily-used Green Lake Park.
Centered around a titular 259-acre freshwater lake in north-central Seattle, the Olmsted Brothers-designed green space was established in 1908 and is best known for the 2.8-mile multi-lane recreational path that encircles the lake and its wealth of (occasionally surprising, sometimes panic-inducing) urban wildlife. Nestled alongside the eastern shore of the lake, the park’s existing art deco community center opened in 1928 while the adjacent indoor public swimming pool, Evans Pool, debuted in 1955.
The Green Lake Community Center—complete with gym, dedicated meeting and activity spaces, second-floor “tot room,” and restroom/shower facilities—is one of the oldest of the 26 community centers operated by the parks department. While its popularity hasn’t wavered, the nonagenarian neighborhood hub has been showing its advanced age for some time. A $750,000 multi-phase stabilization project is currently underway so that it can remain open to the public and, to date, numerous fixes have been completed including a crucial roof repair, the installation of a new pool pump, and electrical improvements. Per the SPR, new boilers and an upgraded ventilation system are next up. Meanwhile, both the community center and pool remain closed to the public due to the coronavirus pandemic.
While these much-needed repairs will enable the Green Lake Community Center and Evans Pool to remain open in the immediate years to come, the eyes of most Seattleites are fixed on what’s to come further down the line: A brand new community center that, at 90,000 square feet, will be three times the size of the current one.
As David Graves, a strategic advisor with the parks department, told the Seattle Times, the new Green Lake Community Center will cost an estimated $100 to $120 million—that’s well over three times the cost of the most expensive community center built in the city’s history, a $32 million LEED Gold recreational center and pool that debuted in the South Seattle neighborhood of Rainer Beach in 2013.
The spacious new Green Lake Community Center is slated to feature many of the same amenities as the existing facility while introducing new ones in an effort to introduce a broader range of programming and place additional emphasis on inclusivity and accessibility. The planning and early design phases also come just ahead of next year’s scheduled opening of Roosevelt Station, a new light rail station part of Sound Transit’s Link Northgate extension. Located roughly 20 minutes by foot and less than 10 minutes by bike from Green Lake (also,