A long-awaited gym is part of a $10 million expansion and renovation project that will transform the Spring Hill RECenter over the next 16 months.
A brief groundbreaking ceremony will be at 10 a.m. Sept. 21 at the center, 1239 Spring Hill Road. But construction likely will start sooner.
Construction is being funded out of a $75 million park bond voters approved last year. The expansion will add a new two-story fitness center, a gym with an elevated running track, new office space and utility upgrades. The gym will feature a single high school basketball court with two overlay basketball courts and an overlay volleyball court.
The gym has been planned for 25 years, but the project only got the funding to move forward relatively recently.
"The original plans, when we built the center in the late '80s, already had a proposed expansion for a gymnasium," said David Bowden, director of the planning and development division at the Fairfax County Parks Authority. "It wasn't a high priority at the time, but gym space has become more and more impossible to find in Fairfax County. So it rose up in the list of things we would like to build."
Between the county's population growth, new development causing public open space to shrink and a general tendency of residents to be more fitness conscious, the demand for better facilities has also increased, he said.
Several facets of the existing center will be renovated — the front entrance where customers check in, the multi-purpose rooms on the center's lower level and the locker rooms will all get a makeover. The locker room upgrades will include the installation of an individual shower area and the construction of five family cabanas.
Floor replacement, painting and other renovations that would cause the most disruption will be slated for the center's biennial shutdown in September 2014, Bowden said.
The RECenter expansion, including the gym and fitness center, is expected to open in December 2014. The renovation work to the existing area should be complete by February 2015.
The Spring Hill RECenter currently is a 44,000-square-foot facility with a heated pool, saunas, dance studio, racquetball court and other amenities.
"From swimmers to fitness buffs, those who take classes to those who play racquetball, the expansion promises to make a visit more exciting, comfortable and family-friendly," according to a news release.
The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors increased the size of last year's park bond to include money for Spring Hill in April 2012. The bond won approval in November after 72 percent of voters said they were in favor of it.
Supervisor John Foust, who represents this portion of Fairfax County, has said there is a "huge need" for indoor recreation facilities in the McLean area.