Hollin Meadows Swim & Tennis Club (HMSTC) is a thriving part of our community, bringing families and friends together across the Alexandria region to make memories and celebrate summer for generations. And yet our story is just beginning; we envision that HMSTC’s five and a half acres of secluded, shaded property, just minutes from Old Town and Mount Vernon, will continue to be a welcome summer refuge for generations to come.
At 55 years old, the HMSTC infrastructure is nearing the end of its useful life. While the pool remains in good condition, thanks to the behind-the-scenes efforts of its volunteer Board, annual costs to maintain the existing infrastructure are becoming prohibitive and will increase dramatically if we don’t act soon.
In 2017 the HMSTC Board established a resolution to form a Long-Range Planning Committee (LRPC) to study and research best practices and recommend options for a holistic club renovation of HMSTC.
It is our intention to keep membership apprised of our progress on the planning and renovations so please continue to check back often for the latest information.
HMSTC Pool & Bathhouse Renovation Project -Summary
Vision: The center of the renovation is our 55-year-old swimming pool, which, while operational and licensed via “grandfather” clauses, is not compliant with current safety, building, health, and ADA codes. Additionally, it does not provide the many extras that can be added to a pool for optimal enjoyment by members (slides, competitive dive board, more lanes, more depth, improved bathhouse, etc). Also included in the vision is longer operating hours for swimming and tennis, as well as an increase in the size of our membership from 300 to 450 families.
Initial Research: After a year-long research period in 2017 and 2018 when the committee interviewed other clubs that had recently completed similar renovations, initial concept drawings were developed and presented at the 2018 HMSTC Annual Meeting. Since that time, those concepts have been adjusted and further developed for the 2019, and 2020 Annual Meetings.
Timeframe: The initial estimate was that the first construction would start in September 2021 at the end of the summer swim season. However, two unexpected situations in early 2020 changed that First, cost estimates for our visionary design came in much higher than expected when Fairfax County required extensive stormwater management provisions. Secondly, COVID-19 impacted membership and fundraising causing the LRPC and Board of Directors to add a less-costly renovation option (“Plan B”) and delay the ground-breaking from September 2021 to September 2022. The actual start-date depends mainly on the progress of fundraising. Depending on the success of fundraising and other factors, it is also possible that construction might have to be broken into two phases where phase 1 starts in September 2022 and phase 2 starts in September 2023. The construction of the bathhouse would be phase 1, and construction of the pools would be phase 2. Construction would be done in the off-seasons allowing members to enjoy the summer pool seasons throughout all phases.
Fundraising Committee: A separate committee was established in early 2019 to strategize on how to best raise the funds required to start and complete the project. The rough cost estimate for all the renovation is $3.5M for the initial design concept (Plan A) and $2.5M for the alternative design (Plan B). Regardless of whether Plan A or Plan B is ultimately built, we are building a facility that will last for the next 50 years. Renovation costs will be covered by a combination of fundraising events, dues increases, assessments, loans, donations, and sponsorships.
The philosophy is that the cost should be spread over as many years as possible, as the current members should not pay for all of this, but rather, both current and future members should pay for it over 20+ years. At the Dec 2019 HMSTC Annual Meeting, a method to raise funds quickly for the initial costs and loan down payments was introduced to allow members to prepay their membership dues to the tune of $3k, $5K, or $10K and to earn interest on their account balance. Many members have taken advantage of this mutually-beneficial opportunity to raise nearly $100K to cover initial soft-costs (County permit, civil engineering, legal, architecture, etc) and for use on the future down payment on our large construction loan. However, COVID-19 put a damper on other planned 2020 fundraising activities that were critical to raising the funds required for the minimum down payment on the construction loan.
Formal Planning: In summer 2019, we had reached the point where we needed to contract with professional services in order to prepare the documentation required to take our design to Fairfax County to amend our Special Permit. To that end, we contracted with a civil engineering firm, a land lawyer, and an environmental company. The process to gain County approval was long and challenging, but necessary. After much work by the LRPC volunteers and the engineering and legal professionals, the Club was successful in gaining County Board of Zoning Appeals approval of a Special Permit Amendment on June 24, 2020. The approval included both the Plan A and Plan B options, giving us flexibility. Additionally, our request for extended operating hours and an increase in family memberships were also approved.
With the Special Permit being approved, the Club hired an architect to further the Plan B design of the bathhouse, decks, grounds, and to tie everything into the separate pool design. The architect then obtained cost estimates in November 2020 giving us a much better picture of how the overall design ties everything together and a much better estimate of costs.
Future events to enable a September 2022 ground-breaking include:
- Fundraising and emphasis on attracting new members –continuous
- Test borings , soil analysis. Jan 2021
- Finalize designs for buildings and landscaping. Feb-Mar 2021
- RFP development, proposal reviews, contractor selections, permits, etc . Feb 2021 – Jan 2022
- Loan Application and Approval. Mar-May 2022
- Contracts Awarded. July 2022
- Construction Starts. September 2022
–Volunteerism: both Committees need additional volunteers
–Near-term expenses (before large construction loan is secured)