Community Center designer choice is good
March 20, 2013
At first blush, it might look a bit too cozy. Design firm Barker Rinker Seacat was paid for a feasibility study to tell Sammamish if the city could support a community and aquatic center. They found that the city could do so, and, as it happens, the firm is quite experienced in designing them, too.
Now city officials are negotiating a $2 million contract with Barker Rinker Seacat to design the new center.
Look closely, though, and the choice is a good one.
For one, the nationally recognized firm has good ideas. Their drawings and presentations helped residents understand what they would be getting when the city took its advisory vote. Their vision showed how, within a budget, a community center could be melded with an aquatic center. It showed how Sammamish could have a new facility that helps anchor a city center – something that has long been a goal of city leaders, even before incorporation.
Since completing the feasibility study, the design firm is well positioned to continue the work. They won’t be starting over and won’t need to familiarize themselves with the community, the geography and the plan, which should speed up the process. Speed matters — the community is excited!
With the new facility, Sammamish will have a complete civic center. City Hall, the library, the skate park, police station and Sammamish Commons are already in place. By completing the community center, Sammamish will have built itself a hub.
A city with a pronounced north-south divide will have a central location for people of all ages, from all parts of Sammamish. It will give people a reason to go to a place and linger.
If Sammamish is lucky, the community center might just be the crowning jewel that sparks development in Town Center, bringing mixed-use high density residential with shops, restaurants and office space. At the very least, it will be an amenity that adds value to current and future homes and quality of life.
Officials hope construction will start next year. It can’t come soon enough.