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 54 years old HMSTC 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 now.
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 with the renovations so please continue to check back often for the latest information.
LRP Updates and Communications
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, splash pad, competitive dive boards, extra lap lanes, improved bathhouse, longer operating hours, 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.
Timeframe: The best estimate was that the first construction would start in September 2021 at the end of the summer swim season. The actual start-date depends mainly on the progress of fundraising. Depending on the success of fundraising and other factors, it was recognized that construction might have to be broken into two phases where phase 1 starts in September 2021 and phase 2 starts in September 2022. The construction of the bathhouse would be one phase, and construction of the pools would be the other phase. Construction would be done in the off-seasons allowing members to enjoy the summer pool seasons throughout all phases.
Research: After a year-long research period in 2017 and 2018 when the committee interviewed other clubs which 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.
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 very rough cost estimate for all the renovation is between $1M and $2M. We are building a facility that will last for the next 50 years. Renovation costs will be covered by a combination of dues increases, assessments, loans, donations, and fundraising events.
The initial philosophy was 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.
Formal Planning: In summer 2019, we 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 for approval. To that end, we contracted with a civil engineering firm, a land lawyer, and an environmental company. The process to gain County approval is long and challenging, but necessary before we can finalize design and contract with builders. A rough schedule of the milestones required to reach groundbreaking in September 2021 was layed out as shown below:
Pre-Application Meeting with County Engineer – November 2019
Special Permit Amendment Submission – January 2020
Special Permit Submission Accepted – February 2020
Community Outreach – January – March 2020
Special Permit Public Hearing – May 2020*
Site Plan Submission July 2020
Site Plan Approval July 2021
Construction Start September 2021
Progress: In the period January-May 2020, the team (HMSTC LRPC volunteers, civil engineer, land lawyer) have been steadily engaging with Fairfax County offices including the Zoning Evaluation Division of the Department of Planning and Development, as well as the Chief of the Special Permits Branch. We submitted to the County our Justification for Amending our Special Permit, and have had to respond to at least three rounds of additional questions and clarifications. *The scheduled date for the Public Hearing on our new Special Permit slipped from May 2020 to June 24, 2020.
- In March 2020, the CE presented their findings with respect to the County-required Stormwater Management plan. To our surprise, our project must account for runoff onto our property from neighboring properties. The cost to add provisions to contain the storm water runoff will add $250K to our project. We had anticipated a cost around $50K, so this is a huge unexpected increase.
- About this time in March 2020, the realities of the COVID-19 crisis hit and threatened the project in two ways –possible cancellation of 2020 swim season, and possible impact on fundraising given lost jobs, stock market decline, and uncertainty of the near future.
Given the unanticipated challenges, the rising cost of the project, the uncertainty of fundraising, and the uncertainty of the COVID-19 crisis, the LRPC team thought it wise to develop some less-costly fallback alternatives.
We are currently awaiting rough cost estimates from a pool construction company for each of the options. The County is receptive to allowing our permit submission to include BOTH our initial plan/design as well as a fallback option. Therefore, if our permit and plan gets approved, we will have some flexibility as to how to proceed if the unanticipated challenges cannot be overcome.
–Community outreach (adjacent neighbors)
–Public Hearing 24 June 2020
–Volunteerism: both Committees need additional volunteers
–Near-term expenses (we must continue to pay the CE and Land Lawyer)