The ANC advises the District government on a broad range of public policy matters, including decisions regarding planning, zoning, traffic, streets, recreation, social services programs, health, safety, and sanitation in the Chevy Chase area. The Commission may devote particular attention to an issue that is important for the community, and this page includes the following task forces for 2015 (with the primary responsible commissioner(s) listed).
Membership may include one or more ANC commissioners and interested members of the community. You may volunteer to work on a task force OR request that ANC 3/4G consider establishing a new task force or advisory group on any issue that affects a significant number of people in the community by contacting the ANC Office or making your proposal at an ANC meeting.
The ANC currently has the following task forces/advisory groups for 2015 (with the primary responsible commissioner(s) listed):
ANC 3/4G’s Report & Recommendations for the Future of the Chevy Chase Community Center – January 22, 2018
Table of Contents
- Executive Summary 2
- Vision for the Community Center’s Future 5
III. Community Participation in the Process 9
- Community Survey Result Highlights 11
- Process for Evaluating Options 14
- Recommendations 19
Appendix A: Acknowledgements 21
Appendix B: Notes on ANC Visits to Other Community Centers 23
Appendix C: Survey Methodology 31
Appendix D: Charts and Tables Summarizing Survey Results 46
Appendix E: Floor Plans for the Existing Community Center 151
Appendix F: Preliminary Estimates of Space Requirements and Costs. 155 ANC 3/4G’s Report & Recommendations for the Future of the Chevy Chase Community Center – January 22, 2018
- Executive Summary
ANC 3/4G — supported by an unprecedented level of community engagement — urges the Mayor and the Council to appropriate sufficient funds in the FY 2019 budget for a thorough modernization of the Chevy Chase Community Center (CCCC). The existing building is near the end of its useful life, and it can no longer meet the community’s needs and expectations.
The Chevy Chase Community Center should be the backbone of our neighborhood. In addition to facilitating health, recreation, personal growth, and fitness and serving as a gathering place for community and arts-related events, it will function as an anchor for many in our neighborhood by building a strong sense of local identity. The Chevy Chase Community Center must continue to evolve as we move further into the 21st century and as the needs and interests of our residents develop. The District requires a vibrant facility that will affirmatively build community and serve Northwest DC for decades to come. This comprehensive report and our detailed recommendations provide the blueprint for creating that facility.
Our analysis began without preconceptions but with an ambitious vision of what the Community Center could be — a hub for multigenerational activities that engage residents’ bodies, spirits, and intellects in a convivial environment. Activities and programs at the Chevy Chase Community Center must be:
- suitable for all ages from seniors to toddlers;
- gender and race neutral;
- LGBTQ inclusive; and
- fully accessible.
It should be a welcoming facility for those who enjoy intellectual, social, or physical activities to varying degrees, and it must also be recognized as a safe haven for all. Our Community Center should inspire. It should entice new users and retain faithful patrons. It should aspire to be a central focus for important neighborhood activities. Its spaces and activities should be attractive and exciting. We expect our Community Center to represent our people’s best and highest aspirations.
To achieve these objectives, we sought an extraordinary level of community participation in the planning process. A typical modernization project would not begin community engagement until well after a budget has been appropriated and many preliminary framing decisions have been made. The ANC sought to turn that process on its head so that it could integrate residents’ input from its inception. We held 16 public meetings over 16 months to discuss and debate what to do regarding the Community ANC 3/4G’s Report & Recommendations for the Future of the Chevy Chase Community Center – January 22, 2018
Center. We visited other community centers to gather information and ideas. We met with officials from the Department of Parks and Recreation, the Department of General Services (DGS), the Public Library, and the Office on Aging. We conducted a comprehensive survey, gathering almost 1000 responses from households representing at least 1500 individuals. We enlisted the abundant talents and expertise of our neighborhood’s survey designers, architects, and data analysts to review information and examine options. We compiled the available facts in useable formats. In sum, this community-centered, collaborative process has produced documented analysis and supportable recommendations. Although ANC 3/4G is responsible for this report and its recommendations, Appendix A acknowledges those organizations and individuals who made particular contributions.
The ANC took extraordinary steps to ensure that its survey was comprehensive and representative. Survey questions were community driven. The easy-to-complete on-line survey was widely publicized in media, through emails, and in door-to-door canvassing. This exhaustive survey process produced especially useful results. We identified the demographics of all respondents and cross-tabulated the data by respondents’ particular characteristics — e.g., to determine whether seniors’ answers differed from those who were responding on behalf of children. We ranked relative interests in programs and facilities to identify the community’s priorities. Among other findings, the data showed strong interest in an appealing physical space, open areas, sustainable structures, a performance space, gymnasium facilities, and nurturing current hallmark programs (e.g., fencing and ballet). This analysis helped shape the ANC’s conclusions and recommendations about the necessary programs and facilities in a modernized Community Center.
We developed our recommendations systematically. First, we used the survey data and community meetings to identify those programs that the Community Center needs to support. Second, we determined what facilities will be required to accommodate programs and activities, again relying on survey data where applicable. Third, we estimated the space requirements for each of the necessary facilities and whether they (a) can fit within the existing structure, (b) would need an addition to the current footprint, or (c) dictate construction of an entirely new building. Fourth, we projected the costs of a modernized Community Center using DPR’s experience and standard estimating factors.
Finally, we make the following specific recommendations for realizing this vision for a modernized Community Center:
- DPR and DGS must continue to work closely with the ANC, the community, and nearby neighbors to assure suitable transition space for key programs (e.g., ballet and fencing) and to develop more detailed plans for the Community Center to ensure that the final interior and exterior design meets current and future community needs; ANC 3/4G’s Report & Recommendations for the Future of the Chevy Chase Community Center – January 22, 2018
- Remove, reuse, or recycle the interior and exterior walls of the existing structure leaving only the structural supports and floors;
- Design the new Community Center to fit within the existing structure or within the additional space between the rear of the building and the current parking lot;
- Include space in the new building for a fitness center with equipment, a lecture/performance hall with about 125 seats, meeting/games/party rooms, a half-court gymnasium, a childcare room with an indoor play area, a kitchen, a quiet lounge, an activity/tech lounge, a dance/yoga/Pilates studio, a fencing/exercise room, a pottery area and an arts and crafts space, offices, and rooftop amenities (e.g., a garden, greenhouse, and/or outdoor lounge);
- Coordinate the design of the modernized Lafayette Recreation Center and the Chevy Chase Recreation Center (at 41st Street and Livingston) to avoid duplication with the Community Center and to take advantage of any synergies that can be achieved;
- Consider adding surface parking spaces while minimizing the impact on nearby neighbors;
- Create a new building that is aesthetically appealing, in harmony with the surrounding neighborhood and buildings, constructed to the latest sustainability standards and fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), including the updated ADA Standards for Accessible Design (2010 Standards), requirements, and resilient so that it can serve as a refuge in case of an emergency or other widespread disturbance;
- Work with the District Public Library to coordinate any improvements to the Chevy Chase Library to take advantage of synergies between the two buildings and to unify and harmonize the campus to the extent possible; and,
- Include at least $24 million in the FY 2019 budget for the modernization of the Chevy Chase Community Center.
This report — including detailed appendices — substantiates these recommendations. The ANC sought and obtained extensive community input that shaped it proposals. We look forward to working with the Mayor, the Council, and District ANC 3/4G’s Report & Recommendations for the Future of the Chevy Chase Community Center – January 22, 2018
agencies to make the community’s vision for the Community Center a reality and to creating a community asset that will be a source of pride for decades to come.
- Vision for the Community Center’s Future
An Opportunity to Inspire
The 1960s-era Chevy Chase Community Center sits in Ward 3 at the corner of McKinley and Connecticut Avenue in Northwest DC but also serves the larger community west of Rock Creek Park. During the last half century, only minor improvements were made in the late 1990s that did not change the building’s look or functionality. Modernization is both necessary and long overdue.
Our city has changed significantly over these decades and so have the needs of our community. Based on data collected through the 2010 U.S. decennial census, Ward 3 has a higher than average percentage of both young and old compared with the other seven wards (DC 2012 Ward Profile, http://www.neighborhoodinfodc.org/wards/Nbr_prof_wrd3.html. Our particular demographics present interesting challenges that a mere facelift cannot address. We need a Community Center that reflects our modern sensibilities and a building design that can endure, while being responsive to the evolving needs of our community. This opportunity to modernize the CCCC is a chance to inspire.
A 21st Century community center for Northwest DC should be an inclusive, invigorating, multi-functional space that resonates with the District’s vibrancy, attracting all age-groups in our community, and aligning the environmental, sustainability, and resilience goals that our city leadership has set out for the coming decades. Notably, Mayor Bowser pledged on December 4, 2017, to make Washington, DC carbon-neutral and climate resilient by 2050, https://mayor.dc.gov/release/mayor-bowser-commits-make-washington-dc-carbon-neutral-and-climate-resilient-2050. What better way to realize these plans than to design a modernized Community Center based on those principles? The Community Center should embody our noblest aspirations.
A Collective Vision
An effective community center builds and supports community. A collective vision can and should guide our thinking as we formulate concepts, designs, and budgets. An inspiring vision reflected in a building’s design — the aesthetics as well as the nuts and bolts — will draw people to take a look inside, see what the center has to offer, size up the feel of the place, and decide whether this will be a comfortable space for them. The more the community feels pulled in by “curb appeal” — i.e., the landscaping, the front entrance, and the condition and design of the outdoor physical space — the greater ANC 3/4G’s Report & Recommendations for the Future of the Chevy Chase Community Center – January 22, 2018
the foot traffic and return visits and the more likely the center will become an essential element in providing a palpable sense of community.
A modernized Chevy Chase Community Center would bring more members of our community together in a location that naturally invites mingling across generations —where there is a common space and facilities that aren’t solely uni-purpose, yet still offer privacy. That space would consciously reflect the community’s shared values. To achieve those objectives, we have developed the following Guiding Principles that provide the backdrop for this report.
GUIDING PRINCIPLES ANC 3/4G’s Report & Recommendations for the Future of the Chevy Chase Community Center – January 22, 2018
The Community Center as a Destination
A modernized, 21st Century Chevy Chase Community Center should be a destination for reflection, activity, and an alternative from home, school, and work to pursue hobbies and interests with other like-minded neighbors. It would be a destination for learning, doing, making, thriving, and gathering.
Community stands at the core of a 21st Century CCCC as expressed and reflected in its: (a) physical layout and design, (b) programming, and (c) resources.
Physical Layout and Design. This means engaging local designers, artists, and architects to design and construct a building that is open and inviting in its aesthetics, functional in meeting all program requirements, as well as environmentally friendly and climate resilient. Using locally sourced materials and local business products and services, where feasible, and adorning the walls with the artwork of local artists would help create a community center built by — as well as for — the community.
Programming. This means creating programming that engages curiosity, learning, and meaning that will enable our community to stay on the cutting edge of fitness, health, and practical understanding of how scientific and technological advances affect our lives. Program offerings in a dynamic CCCC might include:
- o A makerspace — like those described in “Six DC Area Makerspaces,” February 25, 2015, https://www.bisnow.com/washington-dc/news/tech/6-dc-area-makerspaces-43309 — to bring in 3-D printing equipment, metalworking equipment, telescope making, LEGO robotics, textile, sewing, and knitting classes that would attract hobbyists, artisans, artists, entrepreneurs, and new careerists.
- o Lectures or exhibits that take advantage of the tremendous research at federal government agencies (e.g., NIST, NIH, DOE, NASA, ARL, etc.), research universities, foundations (e.g., Carnegie Institution for Science), and companies located in the metropolitan area and introduce a broader audience to the work that they do and the new technologies on the horizon that they are supporting that would affect how we might live, work, and thrive — e.g., driver-less cars, robotics in the home, and cybersecurity.
Resources. This means offering resources that celebrate the creators, entrepreneurs, artists, teachers, historians, reporters, and others who reside in our community and enable them to bring their talents to others as well as to provide pertinent information to our community. This integration of neighborhood assets with the community might include: ANC 3/4G’s Report & Recommendations for the Future of the Chevy Chase Community Center – January 22, 2018
- o Partnerships with NPR StoryCorps to capture the career stories of our older residents; and
- o Engaging and thought-provoking talks by experienced professionals living in the area, including former US foreign service officers, historians of the city, staff from foreign embassies, professors from local universities, and book authors.
A Community Center That Forges Community
The Chevy Chase DC neighborhood would welcome a Community Center that reflects the needs of the community and recognizes the warp and weft of our community’s physical, social, and intellectual fabric. A modernized, generationally integrated CCCC will add to the work that our neighborhood’s commercial businesses have been doing to build the tapestry of our community. A more attractive, environmentally friendly, and climate resilient building with value-added programming and activities would enrich the neighborhood for everyone.
We can create a space that offers a sense of inspiration and energy, a communal space that attracts and brings a diverse and active community together in shared experiences that can fortify the strands of our social identity and strengthen our ties. With strong leadership and community involvement, we can realize this vision and look back years and decades later with pride at what we built for our community. We invite the Mayor and Council to join is in making this happen. ANC 3/4G’s Report & Recommendations for the Future of the Chevy Chase Community Center – January 22, 2018
III. Community Participation in the Process
ANC 3/4G recognized from the inception of this review that full community participation was essential. Thus, at its September 12, 2016 meeting, ANC 3/4G initiated a process that would provide extensive community input in defining the Community Center’s future. The prospect for renovations was raised initially at the ANC’s April 25, 2016 meeting with Mayor Bowser, and in July 2016, several ANC 3/4G Commissioners and representatives from the Chevy Chase Citizens Association (CCCA) met with the Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) about its plans for the Community Center. The ANC sought to develop a process to ensure that decisions would be made based on the best information available and that they would reflect a full and complete vetting with the affected community.
The District contemplated some upgrades to the Community Center in its FY 2018-FY 2023 Capital Improvements Plan, https://cfo.dc.gov/sites/default/files/dc/sites/ocfo/publication/attachments/DC%20GOVT%20FY%202018%20BUDGET%20–%20CONGRESS%20–%20VOL%205.pdf at page 156. That Plan included allocation of $3.5 million in FY 2019 and $4.5 million in FY 2020 to “make ADA improvements, new elevators, new multifunctional rooms and new and expanded program space” at the Community Center. DPR told the ANC at the meeting in July 2016, however, that this amount of money would only be sufficient to address critical renovation needs — e.g., improved ADA accessibility and essential upgrades to water, electrical, and heating and air conditioning systems but no new or expanded space. According to the Capital Improvements Plan, this limited work was projected to require about 17 months for design and 14 months for construction.
Because the Community Center is a vital, long-term asset for our neighborhood and because decisions made in the next few years will have ramifications for decades, the ANC sought the community’s views on several critical questions, including: (1) what are the current needs, expectations, and requirements, and how do we expect them to evolve in the future (i.e., a comprehensive “needs assessment”); (2) how will the current renovation plans satisfy short- and long-term needs; (3) are there available alternatives to the currently planned renovation that would better meet community needs; (4) what is the best use of public funds for the Community Center; and (5) what role should the ANC, the CCCA, and the broader community have in decisions about the future of the Community Center?
The ANC unanimously adopted a motion at its September 12, 2016 meeting to begin a lengthy data-gathering and analysis process with a series of special meetings. On November 9, 2016, the ANC held the first special meeting to begin this effort. That meeting, like all of the others discussing the Community Center, was facilitated by the ANC, publicized broadly to the community, and open to everyone. Representatives from the DPR, the DC Public Library, and the Office on Aging each made presentations on ANC 3/4G’s Report & Recommendations for the Future of the Chevy Chase Community Center – January 22, 2018
their current efforts to assess the community’s needs, whether the existing facilities meet those needs, and whether there are any current plans for improvements to the facilities.
DPR’s Deputy Director for Community Engagement, John Stokes, welcomed the ANC’s proactive approach but acknowledged that it had not initiated any analysis of future needs or requirements because there is no money available for capital improvements until at least FY 2019 and 2020. The Library’s Director of Business Services indicated that it had taken a more holistic approach and has looked at options — including a possible public/private partnership — for the Community Center and the Library as part of a larger community campus. This effort was part of a study of five library properties in the District to determine feasibility. Finally, the Office on Aging’s Chief of Staff said that they are pushing for a “virtual senior wellness center” in Wards 2 and 3 that may or may not be a brick-and-mortar center. He acknowledged the need, however, for a more coordinated program for seniors in Ward 3 and Ward 4 west of the Park, where no senior wellness center currently exists.
The attendees at the September 12 meeting expressed a range of views and concerns, but one repeated thread was the need for better information about what the community needs and wants from the Community Center/Library/playground complex. Based on suggestions from several attendees, the group agreed to prepare a survey plan to solicit the community’s views in a systematic, reliable way. A second special meeting was held on December 13, 2016, to review the proposed survey plan and to continue the discussion, focusing on the information that the ANC needs to formulate a proposal for the Community Center’s future. Section IV below describes the development of the survey methodology and reports highlights of the survey results.
At the December 13, 2016 meeting, the ANC and the CCCA also requested and later received data on classes offered at the Community Center and the numbers of people enrolled. The ANC also arranged with DPR for visits to three other community/recreation centers in the District, and several Commissioners and residents went to the Deanwood Recreation Center on January 9, 2017, to Raymond on January 12, and to Rosedale on January 13. Those visits are documented in Appendix B and helped to suggest possible features that could be incorporated in a modernized CCCC.
As described more fully in Section IV, the ANC led a number of subsequent meetings to finalize the survey plan. The survey opened on September 13, 2017, and closed on November 7, 2017, after which the ANC held a special meeting on November 28, 2017. This meeting was widely publicized, including emails sent to the 355 survey respondents who provided addresses and asked to be notified of future activities. First, the ANC presented a report on preliminary data from the 929 respondents in the Community Center survey. Although the data were still being compiled, the ANC described some high-level facts about those activities/programs and facilities that were of greatest interest to respondents. Second, DPR’s John Stokes and Jeff Bonvechio, the ANC 3/4G’s Report & Recommendations for the Future of the Chevy Chase Community Center – January 22, 2018
DGS’ Deputy Director for Capital Construction, made presentations on the scope of work that would be included in rehabilitation of the existing building. (Nick Kushner, a DPR Community Planner for Capital Projects who would be working with the community on this project, also attended this meeting.) They indicated that, because of the extensive work that will be required to modernize the existing building, they expected to strip the building down to its core structure and to remove all the exterior and interior walls before constructing the new facilities and systems within that framework.
DPR and DGS did not offer specific cost estimates but indicated that modernization within the framework of the existing building was feasible, and the costs were not out of line with recent experience in renovating community or recreation centers (about $435 per square foot). They emphasized that the size of the existing structure — three stories and about 31,700 square feet — provided considerable flexibility to reconfigure the facilities. Finally, the group discussed the possible scope of work for replacement of the existing building with an entirely new building. Even assuming additional features (e.g., a gymnasium and a performance hall), the program facilities appeared to fit within the shell of the existing building with the exception of a full gymnasium, which would require a significant addition.
The ANC led another special community meeting on December 14, 2017, (1) to review the results of the Community Center survey, (2) to discuss the types of programming and facilities that should be used in planning for the future Community Center, (3) to consider the space required to accommodate the identified facilities, either in the existing structure, in the existing structure with an addition, or in a completely new structure, (4) to estimate approximate costs that would be entailed to construct the required facilities, and (5) to develop the strategy for presenting these recommendations to the Mayor and the Council. The ANC reviewed this discussion at its regular meeting on January 8, 2018, and considered further input from the community.
On January 15, 2018, the ANC posted its draft resolution, along with its proposed report on and recommendations for the CCCC, on the Chevy Chase Community listserv, NextDoor, and on ANC 3/4G’s website, https://anc3g.org. The Commission invited questions and comments from the community. On January 22, 2018, at its regularly scheduled meeting, the ANC discussed the final report, any modifications based on issues raised by Commissioners and residents, and discussed a resolution to adopt the report and its recommendations.
- Community Survey Result Highlights
One of the ideas that the ANC embraced at the first special meeting on November 9, 2016, was the development and implementation of a community-wide survey to gather residents’ views about the Community Center’s future. Community residents Amy Mack and Patrick Williams were instrumental in guiding this discussion. ANC 3/4G’s Report & Recommendations for the Future of the Chevy Chase Community Center – January 22, 2018
Appendix C describes the survey methodology that the ANC followed in conducting the survey.
The survey closed on November 7, 2017, and the ANC reported some preliminary survey tabulations at its November 13, 2017 meeting, with further results reported at special meetings on November 28 and December 14. Among the highlights presented were the following:
- There were 929 total respondents (777 completed the full survey and 152 completed parts of the survey).
- 289 respondents also indicated that they were answering on behalf of their children under the age of 18, and 541 children met that criteria, for a total pool of people in the survey of 1470.
- The age breakout of those responding to the age question was:
NOTE: The age data for survey respondents reflected in this chart represents an overrepresentation of those 65 or older (42%) who, based on recent data, represent only 21% of the ANC’s population.
- An overwhelming majority of respondents indicated that they lived in either the 20015 zip code (76%) or the 20008 zip code (10%).
- About half of the respondents had participated in Community Center activities within the past two years. Those 65 or older participated at the rate of about 58%
ANC 3/4G’s Report & Recommendations for the Future of the Chevy Chase Community Center – January 22, 2018
and those 26-64 at about 45% (see chart below), and about 70% of those who had participated in Community Center activities were “extremely” or “very” satisfied.
Over the past 24 months have you or a member of your household participated in any program/activity at the Chevy Chase Community Center?
Overall (Cumulative Frequency)
18 to 25 years old
26 to 35 years old
36 to 45 years old
46 to 55 years old
56 to 64 years old
65 to 74 years old
75 and older
- To the question of how interested respondents are in having certain facilities, the following seven were rated highest when combining responses for “Interested” and “Very Interested” for all age groups in rank order (all closely bunched between 69-76%): “Fitness Center with exercise Equipment,” “Outdoor Open Space,” “Environmentally Sustainable Structures,” “Auditorium with Stage (for Theater and Movies),” “Community Room,” “Meeting Rooms,” and “Gymnasium.”
- Additionally, in response to the question about the importance respondents placed on aspects of the facility, “Physical Space is Appealing” received a 97% combined score when adding “Very Important” to “Somewhat Important.”
- Where respondents indicated that they took programs elsewhere but would take them if offered at the CCCC, the following ranked highest (in order): “Fitness Club/Exercise,” “Music,” “Creative Arts,” “Theater,” “Foreign Language,” “Pilates,” and “Computer.”
- Where respondents indicated that they took programs at the CCCC over the past 24 months, the following ranked highest (in order): “Senior Fitness,” “Fencing Club,” “Gymnastics,” “Ballet,” “Club 60 Program,” “Bridge Instruction,” “Yoga,” “Line Dancing,” and “Qi Gong.”
- There were some differences for several questions when controlling for the age of the respondent — e.g., a “Gymnasium” was of “Interest” to 82% of those between the ages of 26-45 but only 60% to those age 65 or older; an “Activities/Game Room” was of Interest to 68% of those between 26-45 but only 52% of those age 65 or older; “Adequate Parking” was considered “Important” to 86% of those 65 or older but only 67% of those between 26 and 45.
ANC 3/4G’s Report & Recommendations for the Future of the Chevy Chase Community Center – January 22, 2018
- The preferred hours for use of the Community Center were primarily weekday evenings and weekends.
Appendix D contains detailed charts and graphs displaying the survey results, and a file of all the survey data (except for personal identifiers) is available upon request.
- Process for Evaluating Options
The Commission followed an integrated five-step process in assessing possible options for how to modernize the Center. First, we analyzed the survey results to identify what Community Center functions and characteristics the community considers most important. Second, using the survey results as a starting point and supplementing it with input from community discussions, we created a list of programs that would need to be supported in the Community Center. Third, we outlined the kinds of facilities that would be required to support those programs, using multigenerational and multifunctional spaces where possible. Fourth, we considered whether those facilities could fit within the framework of the existing structure, within the existing structure but with an addition, or would require an entirely new structure. Fifth, we considered whether the projected cost of the modernization would be reasonable, considering the needs and that this structure would serve the community for decades. Throughout these five steps our guiding principles were essential to our analytical framework.
From the survey results, the Commission developed a tentative list of Community Center programming/event categories that could be used for planning current and some obvious future needs for facilities. The list was refined after discussions in the community meeting on December 14, and the following programs or activities were identified (in alphabetical order): ANC 3/4G’s Report & Recommendations for the Future of the Chevy Chase Community Center – January 22, 2018
The Commission then considered what facilities would be necessary to support these programs. Although multifunctional rooms will satisfy some needs, a few programs that are hallmarks at the Community Center require specialized space. For instance, ballet instructors noted that the floor of the current dance studio is state-of-the-art and the only such DPR facility within the District. They said that this facility could be shared with yoga or Pilates instruction, but it could not share with programs like fencing because of the size of the room and the need to protect the specialized floor. The fencing instructor agreed but said that the fencing room could be shared with exercise classes or other closely related activities. Similarly, specialized arts and crafts need to be accommodated with dedicated space. For instance, pottery requires pottery wheels, and kilns that are not required for other crafts. Sinks will be required for all arts and crafts rooms, but not in other classrooms.
The survey results showed that 69% of respondents were “Interested” or “Very Interested” in having a gymnasium at the Community Center, with the greatest interest among younger respondents. Although a gymnasium ranked seventh, it was bunched closely with other desired facilities. It was apparent, however, that a full-court gym probably could not be fit into the available space, and if it were included, it might eliminate many of the current 30 parking spaces (2 spaces for handicap accessible and 28 others) to potentially create additional problems with parking for users from beyond the neighborhood. Moreover, there are full-court gyms nearby (e.g., at Lafayette Elementary School). It could be possible, however, to include a half-court gym that can accommodate a variety of activities — e.g., basketball, volleyball, pickleball, exercise classes, gymnastics, etc. The gym could also be used as a polling site for elections.
Community meetings indicated a strong preference for facilities that encourage multigenerational use. For instance, rather than a dedicated “seniors’ lounge,” it may be desirable to have spaces for a “quiet lounge” and an “activities lounge” (including technology, such as the new Tech Lounges that DPR has recently opened at three District recreation centers). Seniors should have a conducive space for their activities, but facilities could also be used by different people during different times of the day. Even a childcare room — which should include a dedicated children’s play area — could be used for other purposes as well. Such multifunctional spaces will need to be planned with those functions in mind and will need to include adequate storage space.
Survey respondents ranked an “Auditorium with Stage (for Theater and Movies)” as third highest. The community once had a vibrant theater group, and there is now no suitable public space in the neighborhood to stage performances. Community discussions noted that a performance hall could have many uses — e.g., lectures, films, presentations, theater, music performance, dance recitals, ANC and other community organizations’ meetings, etc. For example, The Avalon Theatre could hold film events or educational programming. Politics & Prose, which currently uses Sixth & I Historic Synagogue downtown for its author readings and other speaking events, could hold some of these ANC 3/4G’s Report & Recommendations for the Future of the Chevy Chase Community Center – January 22, 2018
events at the CCCC. Such a multifunctional space would give the Community Center a unique ability to host varied events that cannot be accommodated elsewhere in the neighborhood.
Outdoor open space was highly ranked in the survey and should be preserved and enhanced in the new Community Center. For instance, the courtyard between the Community Center and the Library could be more like a town square where residents can gather. The community meetings also discussed possible uses for the roof space on the building, which can provide additional outdoor space. Possible rooftop activities could include a garden, solar panels, or a small outdoor lounge that would augment the indoor lounge and provide an added attraction.
The survey respondents also placed great value on sustainability (ranked third highest in interest). The roof should certainly be used to promote sustainability through a roof garden and/or solar panels. The modernized Community Center should also be designed to be resilient so that it can be self-sustaining in case of an emergency. The Community Center does not currently have the resiliency features that would permit it to serve as an emergency shelter. A fully resilient Community Center could be a safe haven if there are power outages, extreme heat or cold, or any other disruptive event. With solar panels and the latest battery technology, the Community Center could be able to withstand widespread power outages. Funding from other sources may be available to support this feature of the modernized Community Center.
Finally, the survey found an overwhelming interest in appealing physical space — 97% of respondents. At least anecdotally, many potential Community Center users are deterred by the current building that is described as “gloomy,” “depressing,” and “uninviting.” Among other steps that can make the space more appealing, the modernized Community Center should be opened up to provide natural light throughout the building, particularly in the current basement. By eliminating the artificial hill that now encloses the basement, that space could become more useable, naturally lit, and congenial. As emphasized in Section II above, the modernized Community Center should draw in potential users because it is an attractive, inviting space.
The Commission also considered the current plans being developed for modernization of the nearby Lafayette Recreation Center. This much smaller center in Lafayette Park serves a different function than the Community Center. Similarly, the building at the Chevy Chase Recreation Center (at Livingston and 41st Streets) primarily serves young children and does not and cannot provide the same range of services the community expects from the Community Center. The modernized Community Center should not duplicate facilities or functions that are provided by these neighboring centers, but the three centers should be designed to complement each other. ANC 3/4G’s Report & Recommendations for the Future of the Chevy Chase Community Center – January 22, 2018
Based on these considerations, the Commission and the participants in community meetings identified the following facilities or activities that require specific space in the modernized Community Center that fits within the vision, as expressed in Section II of this report (in alphabetical order):
The Commission next examined the existing layout of the Community Center, as reflected in Appendix E. The current building has approximately 31,700 net square feet on three floors (excluding the roof), but the space is not being used optimally. Some rooms (particularly in the basement) are hardly used at all, and there is no use of the roof. As DPR suggested in the November 28, 2017 meeting, it appears to be feasible to remove the exterior and interior walls to leave only the framework of the building — i.e., the structural supports and the floors — intact. The spaces could then be reconfigured to better suit current and future needs.
With the assistance of architects on the Commission and in the community, the Commission prepared a preliminary estimate of the space requirements for the identified facilities. These estimates will need to be adjusted based on further discussions and additional information. This rough estimate indicates that a modernized Community Center of about 32,550 net square feet (Appendix F) could meet the community’s needs and could be built within the framework of the existing structure, with a possible addition. There is some room for an addition to the current structure between the existing building and the parking lot — e.g., to fit a half-court gym. (The ratio of gross space to net space is typically about 1.4 to 1. Thus, the gross space requirements — to include ANC 3/4G’s Report & Recommendations for the Future of the Chevy Chase Community Center – January 22, 2018
non-program space for mechanical/electrical/plumbing spaces, circulation, and structure — would be about 45,570 square feet.)
The survey indicated that adequate parking was particularly important for older residents, and some community members suggested the modernized Community Center should include underground parking. Underground parking would not be feasible under the existing building, but would be possible under an entirely new building or under the current basketball court and surface parking lot. Underground parking is almost prohibitively expensive, however, since an underground garage requires excavation, ventilation, and other support. Alternatively, it could be possible to add more spaces to the existing surface parking lot. If additional spaces are required, an additional elevated level might be evaluated but only if it could be added without interfering with the immediate neighbors and if it could conform to the surrounding neighborhood. If it meets these criteria, this could be an alternative to a much costlier and more time-consuming construction of an underground level.
The Commission also considered the tradeoffs between using the skeleton of the existing structure and building an entirely new building. The architects said that there would be significant cost and construction time savings in using the existing structure. The drawback, however, is that it will be more difficult to optimize the use of the space since the existing structure dictates how particular facilities can fit into it. With an entirely new structure, it would be possible to use the space more efficiently. It would also be possible to integrate the new Community Center better with any added parking spaces.
Any Community Center modernization will entail a long-term closure when the facilities will not be available. DPR and DGS advised the Commission at its November 28, 2017 meeting that it would be impossible to do the kind of modernization that is necessary without closing the Center entirely for at least 15 months. Because major systems will have to be replaced and structures reconfigured, it will not be possible to leave any portion of the building open during construction. (Construction of an entirely new building would take only marginally longer to complete.) Thus, it will be important to find suitable space for key activities that now take place at the Community Center — e.g., ballet and fencing — to continue uninterrupted so that they can be resumed at the Community Center when construction is completed. The planning for this transition period is an essential element of the project.
DPR told the Commission that it had completed recent renovation projects for about $435 per square foot of gross space — about $19.8 million. Of course, that would not be a reasonable estimate of the final cost, however, because it does not include all of the necessary equipment, expansion of parking facilities, or any normal design and construction contingency. Those factors would add about 10% plus a $2 million allowance for site restoration work, bring the total to about $24 million. This estimate — ANC 3/4G’s Report & Recommendations for the Future of the Chevy Chase Community Center – January 22, 2018
which is subject to adjustment if the underlying assumptions change — suggests that the costs for the facilities we recommend could be made available within the budget process.
For more than 16 months and at 16 public meetings, the Commission solicited the community’s views on the future of the Chevy Chase Community Center. Almost 1000 residents participated in the Commission’s community-wide survey, representing the interests of almost 1500 individuals, and dozens of community residents and interested parties attended our public meetings. The Commission enlisted assistance from DPR, DGS, the Public Library, and the Office of Aging and drew on the expertise of the talented members of our community. We have considered and analyzed various options not only from the perspective of the current Community Center users, but we have also attempted to anticipate what future residents would expect from their Community Center. We have been guided by the principle that the Community Center should serve the entire community and should be a hub for strengthening and building our community.
The existing Community Center no longer meets residents’ needs, nor does it meet current building and accessibility codes. A cosmetic facelift will not address fundamental deficiencies and will only postpone the time when major changes must be made. Rather, a thoughtful investment now will serve the community well for decades to come. As laid out in Section II above, a modernized Chevy Chase Community Center should inspire creativity, physical activity, intellectual stimulation, and social interactions. It should bring more members of our community and beyond together in an environment that naturally invites mingling across generations. It should provide a common space and facilities that aren’t solely uni-purpose, yet still offer privacy. It should also make evident the community’s choices to do our part to promote sustainability, resilience, and open space in an urban environment.
With this objective in mind and based on the Commission’s extensive analysis, we advise the Mayor and the Council to authorize a major modernization to the Community Center to begin in FY 2019. This recommendation is based on the following:
- DPR and DGS must continue to work closely with the ANC, the community, and nearby neighbors to develop more detailed plans for the Community Center to assure suitable transition space for key programs (e.g., ballet and fencing) and to ensure that the final interior and exterior design meets current and future community needs.
- The interior and exterior walls of the existing structure should be removed and reused or recycled to the extent possible so that only the structural supports and floors remain. ANC 3/4G’s Report & Recommendations for the Future of the Chevy Chase Community Center – January 22, 2018
- The new Community Center should be designed to fit within the existing structure to the extent possible or within the additional space between the rear of the building and the current parking lot.
- The new building should include spaces for the following: a fitness center with equipment; a lecture/performance hall with about 125 seats; meeting/games/party rooms; a half-court gymnasium; a childcare area with an indoor play area; a kitchen; a quiet lounge; an activity/tech lounge; a dance/yoga/Pilates studio; a fencing/exercise; room; a pottery area and an arts and crafts space; offices; and rooftop amenities such as a garden, greenhouse, and/or outdoor lounge.
- DPR should coordinate the design of the modernized Lafayette Recreation Center and the Chevy Chase Recreation Center (at 41st Street and Livingston) to avoid duplication with the Community Center and to take advantage of any synergies that can be achieved.
- The design of the new building should consider ways to increase surface parking spaces to minimize the impact on immediate neighbors.
- The new building should be aesthetically appealing, should harmonize with the surrounding neighborhood and buildings, should be constructed to align with the latest sustainability standards, should fully comply with the latest ADA standards, and should be made resilient so that it can serve as a refuge in case of an emergency or another widespread disturbance.
- The District Public Library should be consulted about the possibility of coordinating any improvements to the Chevy Chase Library to take advantage of synergies between the two buildings and to unify and harmonize the campus to the extent possible.
- The Mayor should include in her budget submission to the Council and the Council should approve a budget of not less than $24 million in FY 2019 for the modernization of the Chevy Chase Community Center.
A resolution to adopt this report and these recommendations was adopted by the Commission at its January 22, 2018 meeting by a vote of 6to 0 (a quorum being 4). ANC 3/4G’s Report & Recommendations for the Future of the Chevy Chase Community Center – January 22, 2018
Appendix A — Acknowledgements
Many community volunteers worked countless hours on this project throughout the 16-month process. In addition to the current ANC3/4G Commissioners former Commissioners Carolyn Cook and Peter Shapiro were instrumental in initiating this effort in the Fall of 2016. All of the Commissioners helped to publicize the survey and several of the Commissioners distributed survey flyers door-to-door in their districts. Commission Chair, Randy Speck, led all of the community meetings and prepared thorough minutes that were posted on the Chevy Chase listserv, which enabled residents to stay current with all activities. Commissioner Jerry Malitz was primarily responsible for completing, conducting, initiating follow-up, and compiling the results of the CCCC survey, including the pilot survey. Commissioner Chris Fromboluti provided his architectural expertise in evaluating the existing building, assessing space requirements for a new building, and ensuring that our recommendations would be feasible. Finally, Commissioner Speck prepared the initial draft of the report which has evolved through extensive Commissioner and community input into this final product.
From the beginning, the Chevy Chase Citizens Association provided support and assistance. The very first meetings with the Department of Parks and Recreation were held jointly with the CCCA. Ted Gest has been the CCCA’s point person, and has attended most public meetings as the CCCA’s representative. In addition to consultation and advice throughout, the CCCA paid for the survey flyers on an expedited basis to make sure that they could be widely distributed in the neighborhood. The CCCA also helped to encourage its members to participate in the survey and publicized the survey in its weekly Northwest Current column, authored by Mr. Gest.
Amy Mack and Patrick Williams — both Chevy Chase DC residents — were key in developing the survey questions and format. They evaluated similar surveys in other communities, prepared the initial survey drafts, met tirelessly with the community, and enabled the Commission to conduct the comprehensive survey that underpins this report and recommendations. Barbara Robinson also acted as a facilitator at several of our community meetings to organize comments and keep the group on track in developing the survey.
In addition to Commissioner Fromboluti, Patrick Williams and Robert Perry assisted the Commission in evaluating the architectural issues as they arose. Among other things, they toured the existing building with Commissioners, visited other community/recreation centers in the District, documented these tours and visits with photographs, evaluated options for the Community Center’s future, and helped the Commission to understand the tradeoffs among various approaches.
A cadre of seniors in our community were particularly active throughout the process. Jay Thal, Janean Mann, Loretta Kiron, Nanci Link, Lorri Scally, participated in ANC 3/4G’s Report & Recommendations for the Future of the Chevy Chase Community Center – January 22, 2018
many of the community meetings and offered their helpful comments to ensure that the Commission considered their perspective. They also helped to enlist the support of Councilmembers on issues related to the Community Center. Other stalwart community members provided a range of perspectives during our community meetings, among them Phyllis Myers, Connie Chang, Cheryll Wasserman, former Commissioner Lee Schoenecker, Bill Barnes, Eva Barnes, and others. Ms. Chang was especially helpful in articulating and authoring a coherent vision for a modernized Community Center, which can be found in Section II of this report.
We also appreciate assistance from the Department of Parks and Recreation’s Keith Anderson, Themba Masimini, John Stokes, Nick Kushner, Brian Williams, and Fran Scott who helped arrange meetings, provided information about Community Center programming, guided us in visits to other community/recreation centers, and helped us to identify feasible alternatives. The Department of General Services Greer Gillis and Jeff Bonvechio also assisted with information about the District’s recent experience in modernizing community/recreation centers.
Finally, we are especially grateful for the support provided by Mayor Muriel Bowser, who sparked this effort in her April 2016 meeting with Commissioners. Councilmembers Mary Cheh, Brandon Todd, and Anita Bonds have also lent their important support for our community-based process. We will continue to seek their guidance and support as we plan for the Community Center’s future. ANC 3/4G’s Report & Recommendations for the Future of the Chevy Chase Community Center – January 22, 2018
Appendix B: Notes on ANC Visits to Other Community Centers
All visits took place between January 9-13, 2017.
Deanwood Recreation Center (1350 49th Street, NE) — Patrick Williams, Andrea Rosen, Carolyn Cook, Bob Perry, and Randy Speck visited the Deanwood Recreation Center and Library on January 9, 2017. Toni Thompson, DPR’s Chief, Community Relations, met us and, with Area Manager, Monica Clark-Phillips, showed us around.
Deanwood was built in 2010 on the site of a small field house. The 63,000-square-foot Center is located near the Deanwood Metro stop, across from the Ron Brown College Prep High School, and is co-located with the Deanwood Neighborhood Library. (For comparison, DPR reports that the Chevy Chase Community Center is 32,527 square feet and was built in 1960 with no significant changes to the building since then, although some work was done in the late 1990s.) The Recreation Center includes a sports field, swimming pool, early learning center, senior center (but not a wellness center), gymnasium, and a number of meeting or specialty rooms. By agreement with DPS, some of the facilities (including the sports field and the gym until Ron Brown’s gym is again operational) are shared with the high school.
DPR began the planning for the Recreation center with community meetings. It then prepared preliminary plans and drawings that were further reviewed and refined through additional community meetings to arrive at a consensus. Because the library is located in the same building, they also needed to get DC Public Library to agree on the design.
The early learning center is in a separate part of the building and focuses on an after-school program from 3:30 pm until 6:00 pm. With three classrooms opening off a wide corridor that also serves as a play space (the floor is energetically patterned), there is a separate space for toddlers, ages three to five (with appropriately scaled facilities). Next to the classrooms is an outdoor “play lot” with a commodious sandbox. The classrooms incorporate facilities for light food preparation, and open child-sized restroom facilities. This space is also used during the summer for children’s camp. Most of the activities during the school year are after school, so it was deserted when we were there. The early learning center wing also contains a full kitchen with two refrigerators (to accommodate campers’ meals during the summer), a teachers’ lounge with a sink and refrigerator, and adult restrooms.
DPR emphasized that in looking at the space to be built for a community/recreation center, it is important to consider whether the facility is adequately staffed (“build in the cost of staffing”). Deanwood has five recreation staff, but they need eight to operate adequately. ANC 3/4G’s Report & Recommendations for the Future of the Chevy Chase Community Center – January 22, 2018
There is a separate room in the Center that focuses on senior activities, and it is open from 9:00 am to 5:30 pm, Monday-Friday. Gary Williams, the senior recreation manager, indicated that 10 to 15 seniors normally use that space in the mornings, and about 25 seniors are regulars at the Center. They have a full range of senior activities, including bingo, card and board games, crafts, movies, and unstructured “leisure and social” time. The Center also plans trips with seniors to special events (e.g., to the National Museum of African American History and Culture, or a boat ride on the Anacostia), to purchase craft materials, or to a movie. DPR arranges and provides the transportation, but participants must pay their own expenses.
Seniors may also have exercise activities in the gym or various other activities scheduled in the multipurpose room. (We saw about two dozen seniors getting ready for an exercise class in the multi-purpose room when we were there. However, staff noted that when the community center in Kenilworth reopens, much of this population will return there.) There is also a separate space to help with senior housing.
The fitness center is equipped with a variety of exercise equipment and is open from 9:00 am to 8:30 pm. The equipment appeared to need some maintenance but was being used when we were there. We were told that the fitness room is due to be expanded (taking over the game room).
The multipurpose or community room can accommodate 50 or 60 for meetings. It gets extensive use for community meetings, classes (e.g., exercises during the day or boxing some nights), zumba on Saturdays, and private parties. There is a small adjacent kitchen with a stove that can be used by the community (i.e., it is not restricted to use by DPR staff).
The indoor swimming pool is particularly impressive, with a “zero-entry” pool that permits the disabled or toddlers to enter the pool without steps or assistance and a one-half-size Olympic pool. The facilities also include a long water slide. The pool was undergoing maintenance when we were there (appropriate for this time of year). It undoubtedly gets extensive use most of the year. The pool has its own large glassed-in check-in desk, separate from a sweeping semicircular security desk at that end of the building.
Other specifically designated rooms include a game room (with no distinguishing characteristics); a music room; a computer lab with about a dozen computers (open most days from 10:00 am to 8:30 pm; free computer classes are taught here); two study rooms; a small meeting room; an office where one can apply for and pick up DC One cards (staffed by that agency); and a broadcasting room where residents can learn broadcasting and where the seniors operate the Deanwood radio station. The Center also includes DPR office space. ANC 3/4G’s Report & Recommendations for the Future of the Chevy Chase Community Center – January 22, 2018
The one-story library, was, according to DPR Deputy Director Stokes, was an afterthought. It was originally envisioned as only one room, but the community wanted a larger library, and it was expanded (which may account for the lack of optimal design between the two facilities). The Library is sited at the farthest end of the building from the pool, has an extensive section for children with books, with a circular space rimmed by bleachers and children’s computers. Another part of the open space is defined as a teen area. One of three libraries in the city that are co-located, the Deanwood library is DCPL’s smallest branch, at only 7200 square feet. By contrast, according to the 2011 “DC Public Library Services and Facilities: A Framework for Continuing Success,” Appendix H, the Chevy Chase library is a “large” library at 24,000 square feet (though it doesn’t seem quite that large). The Deanwood Library does not have its own meeting rooms but can use meeting rooms in the Recreation Center when it is open and if they are available. There is a problem with the difference in hours between the library, which is open on Sundays, and the Recreation Center, which is closed. The Library has only one small staff restroom, which must be made available to patrons when the Recreation Center is closed, and no water fountain of its own. Also, because the library and the Recreation Center share an entrance, they had to install a makeshift gate to the Recreation Center to close off the reception desk when the Center is closed but the library is open. The less-than-seamless integration of the library and recreation center was attributed by a librarian to the fact that DCPL was not involved in the planning early in the process.
Raymond Recreation Center (3725 10th Street, NW) — Patrick Williams, Robert Gordon, Deean Rubin, and Randy Speck toured the Raymond Recreation Center on January 12, 2017, with DPR Deputy Director John Stokes.
The Center was completed in 2013 on the site of a small field house and had a budget of $11 million (though Director Stokes thought that the final cost was $13 or $14 million). It consists of a two-story building with about 23,650 square feet, a playground, a sports field, an outdoor basketball court, and a tennis court. It is co-located with Raymond Elementary, which can be accessed directly on both the first and second floors. The school uses the DPR facilities, primarily the indoor gym. There is a surface parking lot across the street. The Petworth Metro stop is about two blocks away. The building’s security system requires that all visitors must be buzzed-in or must have a security card.
The first floor includes a game room, a fitness room, a computer lab, and the gym. The “game room” is more a generic room that could be used for any purpose. The computer lab included 13 desktop computers. Director Stokes indicated that they offer courses and programs in the computer lab, but they are moving away from having a fixed computer lab to permitting patrons to sign out a computer and go elsewhere in the building to use it (e.g., to a lounge). He said the Wi-Fi at Raymond is better than at most recreation/community centers, but they are seeking to improve connectivity in all the DPR facilities by installing cell boosters. ANC 3/4G’s Report & Recommendations for the Future of the Chevy Chase Community Center – January 22, 2018
The fitness room was fully equipped with cardio and resistance equipment that seemed to be new or at least very well maintained. There is no trainer (a sign said “No Personal Trainers”) and no formal classes in the fitness room. Director Stokes said, however, that where there is a strong interest — as at the Ft. Stevens Recreation Center — they have organized fitness classes for seniors. One person was using a treadmill when we were there.
The full-size gym includes folding bleachers and scoreboards so that it can be used for games as well for practice or more informal play. The gym has a divider that permits it to be split into two spaces. When we were there, it was being used by the tiny tots coop and a senior walking laps, but Director Stokes said that it is used for a wide range of sports (e.g., basketball, volleyball), art shows, conferences, music performances, movies, and other events. The gym may also be used for “community time,” which would be unstructured so that residents may have pick-up games or any other activity they wish. He said that the gym is in great demand, and stays open until 11:00 pm in order to meet the community’s needs. Generally, he said that demand for indoor gyms exceeds the existing supply. We encouraged Director Stokes to consider a memorandum of understanding with DPS so that the community may take greater advantage of Lafayette’s new gym when it is not being used by the school
There appeared to be only a couple of DPR staff on the site. Director Stokes said that DPR is increasing its staff now and expects to hire 50 additional people city-wide in a variety of positions.
On the second floor, the open space had a number of spin cycles that are used for spin classes. There is a large kitchen that has a full-size stove, refrigerators, dishwasher, microwave, and a lot of cabinet storage space. This is considered a training kitchen, and they conduct a number of nutrition classes, particularly for teens. This is part of a larger nutrition program at recreation centers (e.g., a community garden at the Berry Farm Recreation Center in Ward 8), and in the summer, they bus kids from other neighborhoods to Raymond for nutrition training.
Adjacent to the kitchen is a large multi-purpose room. It has a divider and two entrances so that it can be partitioned into two smaller rooms, as needed. The multi-purpose room can be used for trainings, community meetings, or parties (where it can be rented for about $100 per hour). Director Stokes indicated that this room gets a lot of use.
The Senior room on the second floor did not appear to be used for that purpose. It was cluttered with stacks of chairs and boxes. The room has a small sink. Director Stokes acknowledged that it was not heavily used, and usage would depend on demand. If there is demand (as there was at Deanwood), DPR would provide staffing for seniors. ANC 3/4G’s Report & Recommendations for the Future of the Chevy Chase Community Center – January 22, 2018
The “Arts and Crafts” room was being used for the tiny tots coop and was filled with children’s equipment and toys. That room also includes a sink.
Raymond does not include a performance space per se — e.g., a stage where plays or other performances might take place. We discussed the need for a stage like the one that currently exists at Chevy Chase and whether a lower stage (like the one in Lafayette’s cafeteria/auditorium) might provide more flexibility.
Deean suggested that we might also look at the Silver Spring Civic Building at Veterans Plaza for additional ideas about what a community center might include. See http://www.silverspringdowntown.com/go/silver-spring-civic-building-and-veterans-plaza.
Rosedale Community Center (1701 Gales Street, NE) — Patrick Williams, Ted Gest, Chris Fromboluti, Carolyn Cook, Andrea Rosen, Jay Thal, Samantha Nolan, and Randy Speck toured the Rosedale Community Center on January 13, 2017, with DPR Deputy Director John Stokes and Area Manager, Monica Clark-Phillips.
The Rosedale Community Center, which opened in May 2013, replaced a small field house and has 26,200 square feet on one level. It is co-located with the Rosedale Library; and a charter school, the Community College Preparatory Academy, is across the street. There is a small parking lot with about ten spaces (four of which are for handicapped). Though she was not involved in the outreach for this Center, Ms. Clark-Phillips indicated that DPR tries to provide what the community wants in its community/recreation center, and the facilities were designed with the community needs in mind. She did not have usage information for the center, though DPR is planning to launch a data collection system that would track usage.
The outdoor spaces include a full-size sports field for football, soccer, lacrosse, and other activities; a swimming pool; a walled “fitness bar” area for exercises, accessible from the game room/lounge; a “theme” playground (based on the District’s monuments); and a basketball court. The center has no security for entering the building except in the summer when there is security for entrance to the outdoor swimming pool. (Many DPR centers require a security card for entry.) There are accessible bathrooms near the sports field, so that it isn’t necessary to go into the center (e.g., when the center is closed on Sundays), and a storage room for field equipment, also accessible without entering the center.
The entrance lobby is quite spacious and much of the wall space is glazed, letting in ample natural light. One can see straight through to the outdoor pool opposite the entrance. There is a ping pong table in the entrance lobby and there had once been a pool table. Two offices, one for staff and the other for the use of the chief of DPR’s ANC 3/4G’s Report & Recommendations for the Future of the Chevy Chase Community Center – January 22, 2018
Community Recreation Division (Toni Thompson) are near the entrance. Also just off the lobby is a game room/lounge in which three of the four walls are glass. It is used after school for homework. There is a TV screen that is used to DVD show movies (not connected to cable).
The fitness room is well equipped with cardio equipment but not much resistance exercise equipment, all in good condition. A staffer facilitates circuit training incorporating the equipment into cardio and resistance routines. There is a boxing room in the back with all the necessary accouterments where they conduct boxing classes. Inexplicably, the staff “kitchenette” is located just off the exercise room so that the only access is through the room. The showers and lockers are also down a hall, not particularly nearby.
The gym is full size with bleachers and scoreboards and protective wall padding. We met a nearby resident, Paul Rivas, who said that the gym is not used much during the day, but is a “circus” after school. (Rivas wrote an article in the Hill Rag about the Rosedale gym, http://www.capitalcommunitynews.com/content/new-guy-finds-culture-shock-and-community-rosedale-hoops-game). There is an “old folks” game in the gym on Saturdays and wheelchair basketball on Wednesdays.
The outdoor pool is extremely popular in the summer. There are swim classes for all ages (including mothers and babies), recreation camp, and a special needs camp. The pool includes both an adult pool with several slides and a large kiddie pool.
A craft room includes a sink and extensive counter and storage space so that it can be used for other purposes as well. It has been used for parties and baby showers as well as craft classes. Pottery-making facilities are not included.
The computer lab contains 12 computers and a TV screen that can be used for teaching purposes and for conducting classes. One person was using a computer when we were there. The computer lab has visual access into the library via interior windows as well as a connecting door with the library, but it is locked and has no door knobs. Apparently, it was designed with this connection for future shared use between the library and the center. Currently, operational concerns (e.g., security, different operating hours) prevent any real sharing of these computer resources even though the facilities are built to permit sharing.
The kitchen includes a suite of commercial food prep equipment: Triple sink with integrated drain-board, six-burner Garland gas stove, True refrigerator, commercial dishwasher, and a freestanding ice-maker, as well as a separate refrigerator for the summer feeding program. The community center also serves “Full Fresh Supper” for children at 5:30 pm; the meals come in prepared, and the staff assembles them. The ANC 3/4G’s Report & Recommendations for the Future of the Chevy Chase Community Center – January 22, 2018
kitchen is adjacent to the multipurpose room and has a small pass-through window (which can be shuttered) into the multipurpose room.
The multipurpose room is relatively small, about 32 feet by 21 feet. It can be divided into two rooms, each of which would be quite small as meeting rooms. A very large flat-screen TV hangs on the wall of the multipurpose room.
The seniors’ room, replete with cabinets and counter space, was not being used, other than for storage of items for summer children’s programs. Director Stokes attributed the minimal use by seniors to a lack of demand, but he acknowledged that a staff person devoted to seniors could stimulate a demand that has not yet been tapped. Director Stokes said that DPS is “discussing” the possibility of a senior’s staff person at the Chevy Chase Community Center, but no decision has been made.
Situated at one end of the community center building, Rosedale Library, which opened in October 2012, is small (5,000 square feet) and was another afterthought (like Deanwood) that was added to the Community Center based on community requests. Previously, the community used two library kiosks, but these were closed, and the closest existing libraries were still some distance away. It occupies one floor beneath a soaring gymnasium-like ceiling; three out of four tall walls are glazed and the remaining wall is shared with the Community Center. Some of the integrated window shades have broken and the cost of repairing them is prohibitive.
Rosedale is the only co-located library that has its own entrance, which is a positive feature for library usage. Most community/recreation centers require people to sign in to enter and thereby access the library, which alienates some potential library users.
There are 12 general computers (all of which were being actively used), four more dedicated to teens (Apples; not being used at that time of day), and a printer (for which there is a charge). A small children’s area contains a small round table and a bench. The library has its own restrooms (which are especially heavily used on Sundays when the center is closed, despite the availability of outdoor restrooms) and a staff workroom. The branch manager does not have her own office, so when she conducts employee reviews, for example, they may need to meet outdoors for privacy.
The library has no meeting rooms of its own, but library staff are usually able to get meeting rooms at the center, even with short notice. They use the center’s meeting rooms for summer reading programs, coordinating with camp programs. They can also conduct a book club meeting in the center’s meeting rooms at no charge. The library and the center collaborate on special events (e.g., book readings that have a large audience can use the gym in the center). The branch manager, Eboni Henry, said that having a ANC 3/4G’s Report & Recommendations for the Future of the Chevy Chase Community Center – January 22, 2018
built-in audience for library programs is one advantage of the proximity of the library to the center.
She noted, however, that the library still receives calls from the public about reserving library meeting rooms, even though Rosedale is not listed as an option on the on-line library-meeting-room reservation system. She mentioned, too, that caseworkers and their clients meet at tables in the general library space, which offers little privacy.
Ms. Henry reports that noise is the library’s #1 issue. The design and materials of the building itself amplify sound. Sound intrudes from the community center (one section of the shared wall is not ceiling height, and on the other side is a room within the center), although some soundproofing has been added to try to reduce the amount of sound traveling between the center and the library. Sound from the athletic field behind the library also penetrates. Because the library is open later than the community center, young people energized from playing sports will bring their high spirits to the library after the center closes, where it is difficult to maintain quiet.
Another issue the library grapples with is temperature. The library is at the end of the line for the single HVAC unit, which is located at the opposite end of the building in the community center. The library only warms up in the winter some hours after opening and the reverse in the summer, conditions that are exacerbated by the fact that the facilities keep different schedules (the library is open longer days and on Sunday, when the community center is closed).
Reportedly all three co-located libraries face challenges stemming from the fact that the library facilities don’t belong to DCPL. The libraries depend on DGS to fix things that are broken, and DGS is slow to make repairs. ANC 3/4G’s Report & Recommendations for the Future of the Chevy Chase Community Center – January 22, 2018
Appendix C: Survey Methodology
At its first special Community Center meeting on November 9, 2016, the ANC initiated the development of a community-wide survey to gather residents’ views about the Community Center’s future. Chevy Chase residents Amy Mack and Patrick Williams helped to guide these discussions. The ANC facilitated subsequent special meetings that were held on December 13, 2016, January 30, 2017, and February 28, 2017, to develop a draft survey. The participants discussed the survey that had been used in the Palisades community when considering modernization of its recreation center, the target respondents for the survey, the mechanics of developing an on-line survey, and methods for encouraging participation in the survey.
At the ANC’s March 27, 2017 meeting, Ms. Mack reported on the results of the four community meetings that focused on the survey, emphasizing that development of the survey’s contents had been “community led.” The draft survey focused both on residents in ANC 3/4G and Community Center users, regardless of where they lived and was intended to identify the ways that the Community Center is currently used and what people want and need for future uses. Everyone would be welcome to participate in the survey, however, and no one would be excluded, no matter where they live. The plan at that point was for ANC Commissioners to review the draft survey, followed by possible testing on a representative focus group, and finalization of the survey plan.
The ANC discussed the pilot survey further at its April 24 and May 8, 2017 meetings, and held another special meeting on June 5 to finalize a pilot survey that would be used to assess how the survey worked with typical respondents. The ANC reviewed the proposed final pilot survey (Attachment 1 to Appendix C) at its July 10, 2017 meeting. The pilot survey contained two parts: (1) the respondent’s experience with the Community Center facilities and programs, and (2) the respondent’s desires and expectations for the Community Center and what changes are needed to better serve the community. The Commissioners agreed that the survey questions reflected important and extensive input from the community and that it was time to move forward with the pilot study implementation.
The Commissioners agreed that it would be prudent to conduct a pilot survey as our only opportunity to (1) refine questions, (2) identify and resolve as many potential problems or issues as possible in advance of the final survey, (3) estimate the time required for a respondent to complete the survey, and (4) test the survey platform. For this pilot we used both the on-line Question Pro platform and a pro forma paper form. Each Commissioner solicited about ten respondents to represent a rough cross section of the kind of respondents that we expected, including some from outside our ANC’s boundaries. The ANC reviewed the pilot survey results and respondents’ feedback at its July 24, 2017 meeting and proposed several small changes — e.g., adding the Community Center address, correcting typographical errors, clarifying directions on ANC 3/4G’s Report & Recommendations for the Future of the Chevy Chase Community Center – January 22, 2018
some questions, adding an additional age category for those 75 or older, and adding Sunday as a choice in the question on “which days and hours would you/members of your household most likely participate in programs/activities at the CCCC.”
At its July 24, 2017 meeting, the ANC identified the following target categories of survey participants that had been identified through community input: (1) any resident within the Chevy Chase, DC neighborhood (i.e., within the boundaries of ANC 3/4G or as shown by the boundary map of the Chevy Chase Citizens’ Association (CCCA); (2) anyone who has enrolled in classes at the Community Center within the past two years; (3) members of the CCCA who are not otherwise included; (4) other interested stakeholders who want to participate in the survey (e.g., Northwest Neighbors Village members and volunteers, Ingleside residents, Knollwood residents, Club 60+ members), preschool families (Chevy Chase Baptist Church, Chevy Chase Presbyterian Church, Broad Branch Children’s House), elementary school families (Lafayette Elementary School, Murch Elementary School), Avalon Theatre members, and local businesses along Connecticut Avenue. Nevertheless, everyone would be welcome to complete the survey, regardless of where they live if they are users or may be potential users of the Community Center.
The ANC also identified the following potential ways to disseminate the survey: (1) flyers with the link to the survey at the Community Center office and at other locations within the building; (2) posts on the ANC and Chevy Chase Citizen’s Association websites; (3) posts on the Chevy Chase Community listserv and NextDoor; (4) links published in the Northwest Current; (5) notifications and distribution of flyers to other ANCs in Ward 3; (6) distribution of flyers at the Chevy Chase Library and Tenleytown Library and at recreation centers in Ward 3; (7) posts on the preschool and elementary school websites and distribution in those school’s Tuesday Bulletins; (8) flyers, emails, and posts to any relevant websites such as Ingleside, Knollwood, Northwest Neighbors Village, Club 60+, Iona House, ForestHills Connection; (9) a table at Chevy Chase DC Day; (10) flyers at businesses along Connecticut Avenue; (11) emails to any constituent lists that Commissioners have; (12) door-to-door canvassing by ANC 3/4G Commissioners; and (13) the Saturday Farmers Market at Lafayette Elementary School. The survey was intended to be completed online, but a paper form was also available for completion.
At its August 14, 2017 meeting, the ANC (1) finalized the several small changes to the survey that had been identified as a result of the pilot survey, (2) ratified (with a few additions) the categories of respondents that would be targeted in the survey, and (3) adopted the dissemination methods that had been previously identified in the community meetings (with small modifications). The Commissioners divided responsibility for various tasks among themselves to be sure that each task would be completed. The ANC set the start of the survey for about September 13 and the close for about October 13 and ANC 3/4G’s Report & Recommendations for the Future of the Chevy Chase Community Center – January 22, 2018
agreed that it would analyze the responses to the survey and set a time after the survey closed to present and discuss the results.
The on-line survey was finalized and went live on September 13, 2017, using the Question Pro platform with a custom URL for easier identification, CCCC.questionpro.com. A paper form of the survey was also available in the ANC office throughout the survey period although it was never used. (The final survey questions are contained in the survey results section, Appendix D.) To help in notifying the community about the survey, the CCCA had 2000 flyers printed with information about the survey (Attachment 2).
The ANC and the CCCA took the following steps to encourage the community to take part in the survey:
(1) ANC Commissioners distributed about 75 flyers at Chevy Chase DC Day on September 16;
(2) the ANC posted the link on the Chevy Chase Community listserv (with a circulation of 5100 emails addresses) on September 17, October 11, 16, and 26, and November 1, 3, and 4;
(3) the ANC 3/4G Chair sent emails to all other Ward 3 ANC chairs and Councilmembers Mary Cheh and Brandon Todd on September 17 asking them to publicize the link, which they did;
(4) Commissioners sent emails about the survey to their constituents on September 17 and 18 and sent newsletters to constituents on October 2 and 29;
(5) the ANC posted the link on the NextDoor social network (about 5700 subscribers for West Chevy Chase plus nearby neighborhoods) on September 18 and October 29;
(6) the ANC sent the link to the Forest Hills Connection, http://www.foresthillsconnection.com (which published the link on September 20) and to http://tenleytowndc.org on September 19 for their distribution;
(7) the ANC Chair wrote a letter to the editor of the Northwest Current with a link to the survey, which was published on September 20, and the CCCA noted the survey and its link in Northwest Current columns on September 20 and October 11;
(8) the ANC published the link to the survey on its website on September 21; ANC 3/4G’s Report & Recommendations for the Future of the Chevy Chase Community Center – January 22, 2018
(9) At the ANC’s request, Northwest Neighbors Village’s weekly bulletin included an article with the link on September 22;
(10) the ANC got the Lafayette Elementary School to publish an article and the survey link in the School’s Tuesday Bulletin for October 3;
(11) ANC Commissioners distributed flyers at the Lafayette Elementary School Saturday Farmers Market on October 28;
(12) Commissioners distributed flyers to participants in the Halloween Spooktacular along Connecticut Avenue on October 31;
(13) the ANC provided copies of the flyers to the staff at the Community Center and the Chevy Chase Library;
(14) the CCCA published the link on its website, in its monthly newsletter, and in emails to block captains;
(15) Commissioners sent emails about the survey to program leaders at the Community Center (e.g., fencing, telescope making, bridge, and scrabble) for them to distribute to their program participants; and
(16) Commissioners distributed more than 1000 flyers to individual houses in their single member districts.
The ANC extended the closing date for the survey from the originally planned October 13 until November 7, 2017, to ensure maximum participation. ANC 3/4G’s Report & Recommendations for the Future of the Chevy Chase Community Center – January 22, 2018
Appendix C: Attachment 1 – Pilot Survey
Advisory Neighborhood Commission 3/4G and Chevy Chase Citizens’ Association Survey for the Community About the Current and Future Use of the Chevy Chase Community Center
Section One: Current Usage and Satisfaction with the Chevy Chase Community Center (CCCC)
When answering the following questions, please consider the current site of the Chevy Chase Community Center (CCCC).
- In which zip code do you currently live?
- Other __________
- How long have you lived in your current zip code?
- 0 to 5 years
- 6 to 10 years
- 11 to 20 years
- 20+ years
- What is your age?
- 12-17 years old
- 18-25 years old
- 26-35 years old
- 36-45 years old
- 46-55 years old
- 56-65 years old
- Older than 65 years old
- Please select which describes your household the best:
- I live alone
- I live with another adult (either partnered or married) but with no children in the house
- I live with my family (children under 18, adult children, and/or other adults in the house)
- Are you also answering on behalf of a child/children (under the age of 18 years old) who lives with you?
- No (if no, skip to Q6)
|5a. If yes, please indicate number of children and their ages. Infant (less than 12 months old)||1-4 years old||5 to 9 years old||10 to 13 years old||14 to 17 years old|
- CC Community Center Renovation – Commissioner Cook and Commissioner Shapiro
- Connecticut Avenue Business District Committee – Commissioner Bradfield & Commissioner Shapiro
- Ingleside Task Force – Commissioner Speck
- Lafayette School Modernization – Commissioner Maydak
- Oregon Avenue Roadway Improvement Task Force – Commissioner Cook & Commissioner Tuck Garfield
- Street/Alley Lighting Task Force – Commissioner Maydak
- Zoning Committee – Commissioner Fromboluti & Commissioner Tuck Garfield