Lynnwood’s new rec center to boast ‘wow’ factor

LYNNWOOD — It might sound over the top, but it is true: the swimming pool at Lynnwood’s renovated Recreation Center would include a partially retractable glass roof.

That’s not all.

Architects plan retractable glass walls, too.

Together, glass panels that slide away could give the indoor pool the ability to seemingly transport itself outside with the simple push of a button.

“There’s a ‘Wow’ factor,” said Lynn Sordel, the city’s parks director. “It is something that will keep people coming back.”

Architects plan a total of five different pools — some very large, some quite small — that will maintain five different water temperatures. One, a “lazy river” pool, will circle with a constant 2-3 mph current. There will also be two colorful water slides that will snake inside and outside the building.

The design of the $25.5 million recreation center renovation was released earlier this month. The current building was opened in 1977 and needs to be replaced, officials said.

Construction should begin this December, and continue through early 2011. The center will close during that time.

The gym and classes that take place in the center will be relocated, but all swimming and racquetball activities will be canceled.

The renovation will increase the size of the building from 28,570 square feet to 44,800 square feet.

The workout room will be three times larger and the locker rooms will be completely rebuilt.

Already, more people take swim lessons at the building than anywhere else in south Snohomish County, making the center a regional attraction, Sordel said.

Soon, it will be a destination, Mayor Don Gough said.

“We’re really going to take it up a few notches,” he said. “It will be the biggest (aquatics) facility in the area. We don’t know any other projects like it.”

The renovation will also be one of Lynnwood’s most expensive projects in the last 30 years, Gough said. Increased user fees and a series of new taxes will pay for construction. The city will borrow the money to renovate the center and will repay the debt through raising utility taxes.

Entry fees will help pay about 80 percent of operations.

People are starting to get excited, Gough said. He understands why.

“It is totally cool,” Gough said.

Even some people who will lose their jobs during the construction agree.

Swim instructors such as Selma Tanjo, 14, will be let go during construction since the pool will close. Tanjo says she has mixed emotions about that. She likes the plans for the new recreation center, though.

“It’s going to be big,” Tanjo said. “That’s what I like best — just how big it is going to be.”

Missing a pool for a year and a half will be a blow, others said. George Quintana has come to the recreation center for four years, five days a week, working out in the gym and swimming, he said. He’s coming back from a leg accident that almost robbed his ability to walk.

“I think I would still be using crutches if I weren’t coming here,” said Quintana, who said he’ll search for an alternate pool. “But it will be back — and I will be back when it opens up.”

Chris Fyall: 425-339-3447,

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