Frequently Asked Questions
We have created this FAQ sheet to help address residents’ questions as the Upper Arlington Community Center project moves through the detailed design phase to construction. We’d love to hear from you if you have any questions that are not addressed here. Click here to send us an email and check back for updates to this section.
Location: Kingsdale Shopping Center just south of the Senior Living Housing on Tremont Road. The address will be 3200 Tremont Road.
Size: 165,446 square feet
Building Includes: indoor pool, multi-purpose event/party space, locker rooms, indoor play space, fitness/exercise spaces, three gymnasiums (1 multi-purpose), child watch, e-sports room, walking/running track, program classrooms, multi-purpose room/meeting space, multi-purpose outdoor terrace, senior lounge and art gallery.
HOW DID WE GET HERE?
What was the Community Center Feasibility Task Force?
In 2018, the Parks & Recreation Department completed a comprehensive plan. One of the critical pieces of resident feedback from that process was a desire to revisit the issue of inadequate indoor community recreation and gathering space. At all stages of the planning process, the City received feedback that the amount and type of available indoor space were limiting the range of activities that could be provided. Most notably, 81% of respondents supported a feasibility study on a multi-generational indoor recreation facility in a statistically valid survey conducted for the plan.
In response to this feedback, in July 2019, the Upper Arlington City Council formed the Community Center Feasibility Task Force (CCFTF), comprised of 16 residents, to determine if the community wants and needs a community center. If the answers were “yes,” they should identify what facilities and programming should be included, explore possible locations and develop appropriate funding strategies.
What was the result of the CCFTF?
The Community Center Feasibility Task Force (CCFTF) completed its 18-month study process, concluding that it was feasible for the City of Upper Arlington to construct, operate and maintain a community center. At a Special City Council Meeting on December 16, 2020, the CCFTF Co-Chairs, Margie Pizzuti and Nick Lashutka, provided an extensive overview of the study process, their findings and recommendations, with the Task Force Report submitted to City Council and made available to the community early in the New Year.
In response to the Task Force’s conclusion that it is feasible for the City to construct, operate and maintain a community center without an increase in taxes, on January 19, 2021, City Council approved legislation to bring the proposed Upper Arlington Community Center to a vote of the people on May 4, 2021, and to authorize various funding mechanisms that would enable the City to construct, a Community Center without any increase in City income or property taxes.
I thought the Community Center Feasibility Task Force had decided on the design of the Community Center. What was the detailed design process about?
The Task Force process highlighted the types of uses needed/wanted by residents. It developed a high-level concept for how those uses might be incorporated into the available footprint for a Community Center. The detailed design process was necessary to ensure all the desired uses could be brought together seamlessly and efficiently, within the available footprint, and on budget. It provided all the planning, drawings, and detailing necessary for the facility’s construction. It involved many architectural, engineering, and other logistical components to bring the community’s initial vision to life.
What Community Engagement has occurred during detailed design?
Community Engagement for the project’s detailed design started in the fall of 2021. On August 30, City Council authorized the City to enter a contract with the architecture and design team led by MSA Sport in partnership with Perkins & Will.
Getting Started (Fall 2021)
Blue Brick Idea Wall at the Labor Day Art Festival
UA Community Center Open House #1
Three Program Use stations focused on listening to how residents envisioned using the aquatics, gymnasiums and community spaces. Three Blocking/Stacking stations had interactive models that sparked a conversation with attendees about their preferred location of program spaces on the site and in relation to other programs within the building. Multiple feedback opportunities were available, with design team members at each station facilitating discussions. Comment cards were also placed at each Program Use station to collect written feedback.
UA Community Center Open House #2
This session began with a brief presentation where residents could learn more about the City’s prospective partners for the Community Center and their aligned mission around community health, wellness, and recreation. The design team discussed the multi-generational and multi-purpose nature of the proposed spaces within the UACC that support the Community Center’s holistic vision.
Dialing In (Winter 2021/2022)
Question of the Week
Questions were posted on the project site for six weeks to engage the community and maintain momentum.
Focus Groups (8 Sessions) were held to dive deeper into the wants and needs of several groups, including:
Youth & Teens
Work Groups (9 Sessions) were held to assess the needs of groups, including:
Inclusivity & Accessibility
Online Survey (2,600 responses) – An online survey was conducted early in 2022. Input from the community engagement process was used to help develop an online survey. Over 2,600 people completed the survey, and these results are helping to guide the design of the UA Community Center.
State of the City Presentation (Feb 2022)
On February 17, 2022, the City held the annual State of the City event. The night began with a short presentation showcasing some of the highlights from 2021. After this presentation, the design team provided an overview of the project schedule, the findings from various community engagement activities, including the online community survey, and their detailed design work.
Focusing on the Details (Spring/Summer 2022)
State of the City Follow-Up Small Groups (10 Sessions, Over 220 Participants)
Several sessions were planned where the community could review the plans with project team members.
Update to City Council
In June 2022, the project team presented to City Council again, sharing proposed floor plans and some interior and exterior 3D renderings showing concepts of the facility’s appearance.
Building Access and Parking Discussions (3 Sessions,54 Participants)
As the design team refined and further developed floor plans, parking became an area that needed more study. As the design team drilled into options for the proposed underground parking spaces, it became clear that the underground parking garage would not be as maneuverable and easy to use as initially intended due to the site and building constraints. In response, the team considered options that could better accommodate community members – with a focus on senior patrons and those with special needs.
A series of meetings focused on parking for the UA Community Center were scheduled for residents to learn more about the challenges and to discuss potential solutions.
Getting Ready to Build (Fall 2022)
City Council Update / Community Engagement Session
As the detailed design approached the one-year mark, one final Community Meeting was scheduled so the design team could share the fruits of their labor. On September 6, the design team presented an “It’s so close we can taste it” preview of the final building design.
Community Center Operations Review
On November 14, City Council heard a presentation on the operating budget of the Community Center.
Average 2,800 unique views, 3,336 total views per month
Over 600 sign-ups to the contact list
WHERE ARE WE NOW
What is the current timeline?
When will the groundbreaking be?
Groundbreaking is tentatively scheduled for April 2023.
When will the building be done?
We anticipate the building will be open in the Spring/Summer of 2025.
How was the contractor selected?
The Construction Manager at Risk selection was made in accordance with the requirements of the State of Ohio, which outlines a best-value selection process. The selection began with a public Request for Qualifications (RFQ) that evaluated firms on a variety of factors, including competence to perform, ability in terms of workload and availability, past performance, financial responsibility, history of performance with meeting goals of diversity and inclusion and other qualifications including knowledge of the local area and working relationships with local subcontractors and suppliers. a request for Pricing and Technical Proposals (RFP). The pricing portion of the proposal was evaluated on criteria that included preconstruction fee, construction fee, general conditions and contingency. The technical portion of the proposal was evaluated on criteria that included schedule, approach to work, work sequencing, performance history, and plan for anticipated procurement difficulties.
What Is a Guaranteed Maximum Price contract?
A guaranteed maximum price contract is a cost-type contract in which the contractor is compensated for costs incurred plus a fixed fee limited to a maximum price. Unless a formal change order has increased the GMP, the contractor is responsible for cost overruns greater than the guaranteed maximum price. Savings resulting from unexpectedly low costs are returned to the client.
Where will I park if I’m going to the community center?
The UA Community Center is being planned with several parking areas that will be identified with directional site signage. Most spaces will be provided in a parking garage that is part of the apartment building, currently under construction, immediately east of the community center. A limited number of surface parking spaces will be provided adjacent to the community center, designated for people with disability placards or other mobility challenges. Surface parking will be available at the northern end of the existing Giant Eagle parking lot.
Will there be enough parking spaces?
Yes, parking for the community center will be provided as part of the overall Kingsdale redevelopment.
How will you ensure enough parking for seniors and those with mobility challenges?
Dedicated parking for those with disability placards or mobility challenges will be provided adjacent to the community center and on the first floor of the adjacent parking garage located to the immediate east of the community center. For those able to park a little further away, safe and attractive pedestrian-accessible routes will be provided from the parking areas to the community center entrance. Additionally, a drop-off lane is planned at the facility’s front entrance to facilitate access.
Will there be parking for bicycles?
Yes. The facility will provide parking space for bicycles. Throughout the design process, residents have stressed the importance of parking for bicycles.
How is the City planning to pay for the construction of the Community Center?
The City plans to use a combination of debt and cash financing for the UA Community Center. The City will issue income tax revenue bonds to fund most of the construction of the community center (not-to-exceed $55M in income tax revenue bonds, as authorized by Ordinance 2-2021). The bonds will be repaid through various sources, including Tax Increment Financing (TIF) funds and current and generated revenue sources from the new development. In addition – pending approval of City Council – the City would contribute an additional amount of unreserved/uncommitted City funds, taking the total contribution to at least $14M and using the $8M in projected private donations raised by the Upper Arlington Community Foundation through its Upper Arlington Community Center Capital Campaign. The City has also been successful in receiving a State Capital grant of $450,000 for the Community Center project costs.
Financing for the office space will also follow the original plan and will be funded via a separate bond issuance, to be repaid through the corresponding lease revenues. Currently, this amount is estimated to be approximately $13M.
Is this different than what was included in the May 2021 ballot issue?
In May of 2021, almost 80% of residents voted to support the construction of the community center if it could be done by issuing no more than $54 million in bonds and without raising taxes. The current plan holds to the original commitment of the ballot issue.
Financing for the office space will also follow the original plan and will be funded via a separate bond issuance, to be repaid through the corresponding lease revenues.
How is the City going to pay to operate the Community Center?
A business model was developed based on usage and pricing structures for comparable facilities in other communities. Some of the keys to success include:
- A focus on spaces that can be used for multiple purposes.
- Incorporating senior programming as part of a larger facility.
- Achieving staffing and operations efficiencies by bringing programs within one location
- Providing a combination of memberships, drop-in fees, programming, and facility rentals.
In the fall of 2022, the City conducted a process to confirm and update the findings of the initial operating pro-forma that was conducted as part of the feasibility study process. The new pro-forma was based on the programming included in the detailed design and was consistent with the initial studies.
Will it be affordable to everyone who lives in UA?
Membership and usage fees would be comparable to market-rate membership and usage fees and tiered – single adult, family, senior, etc. Additionally, the City has established the Play UA Financial Assistance Program, designed to support community members who face financial barriers that may prevent them from participating in the department’s programs. This program will assist residents facing financial barriers to participation in the community center.
Why is the City planning to include office space within the building?
Rentable office space – which would total approximately 40,000 square feet – is included as a revenue-generating and service-enhancement opportunity. After issuing a request for proposals concentrated on healthcare providers, the City is in discussions with the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center to lease this space and augment services within the Community Center. As the building design has been completed, the City has re-engaged with OSUWMC to finalize their lease rates and begin design on their space.
Will the office space make the Community Center feel like a medical facility?
No. Ohio State Wexner Medical Center plans to offer various services, including survivorship, sports performance, rehabilitation and other wellness components. The Design Team has worked hard to integrate the office space within the overall design of the building. Rather than taking up whole floors that would divide the building, the office space has been carefully woven into parts of three different floors where it can complement the other uses occurring on those floors.
What is currently under construction at the Kingsdale site?
Senior housing, a parking garage and apartments are currently under construction adjacent to the UA Community Center site.
What facilities will be in the Community Center?
The facilities and programming planned for the Community Center are a direct result of the input gathered by the Task Force early in the study process:
- It will serve as the central community gathering place for events and celebrations that residents have asked for.
- It will provide fitness, wellness, health, and leisure opportunities for all ages and interests.
- It will provide seniors with new space designed specifically to meet their needs while giving them access to many new programming opportunities.
The building program developed for the Kingsdale site is for a five-story building. The Community Center will include the following:
- Entry/lobby, café and play area
- Indoor pool with adjacent party room
- Event space/art gallery
- Fitness/exercise spaces
- 3 gymnasiums (1 multi-purpose)
- Senior lounge
- Child watch
- E-sports room/ open game tables
- Walking/running track
- Program classrooms
- Multi-purpose room/ meeting space
- Outdoor multi-purpose terrace
How many lap lanes will be provided in the pool?
During lap swimming periods, four lanes will be available. This number will be reduced during general pool use periods to accommodate other uses.
Can I reserve a time for lap swimming?
Yes. Lap swimming, with some reservable lane times, will be available at various times throughout each day, integrated with other programmed pool activities.
Why isn’t there a separate pool dedicated to fitness/lap swimming?
Space and budgetary constraints limit the size and scope of the aquatics program at the community center to one pool/mechanical system. As a result, it is being designed as a multi-use facility that maximizes the available space to best meet the needs of different age groups and user types. Upper Arlington’s competitive swim groups use the new natatorium at UA High School. We do not intend to host swim clubs or other competitive swim practices at the community center.
Will there be space dedicated to seniors?
Yes. The senior focus groups stressed the importance of having a dedicated, comfortable space for seniors to socialize and fellowship. The senior lounge on level two will be dedicated to this use. It will be adjacent to the outdoor deck and feature furnishings specifically selected to meet the needs of the senior population.
Where will my specific program be if the building isn’t exactly like the current senior center?
We have clustered three program rooms, including an arts and crafts room adjacent to the senior lounge on the second floor. Classes would also utilize fitness rooms, gyms and large lecture style rooms to provide the best amenities for specific programs.
How does the size of the senior lounge compare to the current senior center?
The senior lounge at the new community center will be around 1,400 square feet, compared to 450 square feet of lounge space in the existing senior center. The new senior lounge will be adjacent to a large outdoor deck, providing up to 3,000 square feet of additional gathering and programming space. Senior members will also have access to other parts of the community center, with senior-specific programming hosted in various rooms throughout the building.
Will non-residents be able to use it?
The operating model includes non-resident usage as part of the service market. A non-resident will pay a premium rate, while residents receive discounted rates. The City includes non-residents that work in UA and pay income taxes to UA as customers eligible for the resident rate. The rate structure is a tool utilized to prioritize resident usage of the facility.
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City of Upper Arlington
3600 Tremont Rd, Upper Arlington OH 43221