The Williams Farm Community Recreation Center property is located at 5252 Learning Circle, off Newtown Road between Diamond Springs and Newtown Elementary Schools. Originally, 57 acres was acquired through the City’s Open Space Program in January 2004 for $5 million. This purchase was a substantial investment by City Council in the western Bayside area for:
- a community park;
- area for both the new Diamond Springs Elementary School and for Newtown Elementary School to be replaced to make way for the Tri-campus elementary school pilot program;
- future right-of-way dedication for Newtown Road;
- a new loop road connecting all of the existing and planned community resources;
regional storm water management improvements; and
- connectivity to adjacent neighborhoods and area for a potential private learning center.
The Williams Farm Recreation Center will be a Silver LEED-certified building, integrating water quality, site development, sustainable building design, and operating practices for environmental stewardship & energy efficiency. View a sneak peak video of Williams Farm Recreation Center.
About the Williams Farm Recreation Center
The community recreation center is a 70,993 square foot facility with amenities to include:
- Multipurpose gymnasium
- Large, unique indoor pool area with an indoor water playground, lap lanes, slide, and aquatic rock-climbing wall
- Community meeting rooms
- Multimedia area for teens
- Various fitness spaces
- An indoor perimeter track on the second floor, overlooking the pool and gym
- Outdoor play court
- Outside playground
- Outdoor sprayground (water play area)
About the Williams Farm Community Park
The 36-acre community park will be improved in two phases. Phase 1 opened in spring 2008 and was improved in coordination with the development of the two new elementary school projects. Phase 1 improvements include: a large central space for athletic play; an asphalt multi-use path around the perimeter of the park; and a parking lot to support cooperative use of the future center and new park. Since it has opened, the park has hosted the Virginia Beach Relay for Life and is programmed to support 250 community league teams with approximately 2,500 youth soccer players.
Phase 2 of the community park is being constructed with the recreation center project and includes:
- ~25,000 square foot in-ground, concrete skate park that will include
- Urban street plaza elements like steps and rails, a vert ramp/bowl component, and a flow park
- Concession/Storage building
- Picnic Shelters
- Walkway or trail improvements to make sure neighborhoods in the 1- to 2-mile radius connect to the Williams Farm property.
The design/build team coordinated a focused public involvement process in mid-to-late 2011 to help determine the design elements of the skate park.
Timeline and Background Information
- In January 2004, the Williams Farm property was acquired through the City’s Open Space Program for $5 million.
- In 2005, the Ray and Joan Kroc Foundation, in partnership with the Salvation Army, searched Hampton Roads to fund and build a community center. While the center was ultimately awarded to the City of Norfolk to serve their Broad Creek area, a substantial need for a unique community center in the western Bayside area of the City was also identified.
- Due to the need identified through the Kroc Foundation analysis, frequent requests for a new recreation center by the western Bayside community, and the proximity of adjacent schools, in 2007 City Council funded preliminary design.
- Throughout 2008, a 40-person steering committee with representation from business, education, faith and civic organizations facilitated 6 public workshops to help City staff develop the preliminary design.
- The concept plan was approved October 2008.
- In May 2010, City Council approved the funding for designing & building the Williams Farm Recreation Center as well as funding for Phase 2 of Williams Farm Park.
- In September 2010, bids for the design & build of Williams Farm Recreation Center, skate park and phase 2 of the Williams Farm Park went out.
- W. M. Jordan Company has been selected as the design build team for the Williams Farm Community Recreation Center, skate park, and phase 2 of the park improvements.
- Notice of Intent to Award was sent October 15, 2010.
- A Ground Breaking & Community Celebration was held October 23, 2010.
- Construction of the recreation center started June 2011.
- Construction of the skate park started May 2012.
- The Williams Farm Recreation Center and Phase 2 of Williams Farm Park ribbon cutting will be held 4 p.m. Friday, October 26, 2012. A grand opening celebration will be held Saturday, October 27, 2012.
For more information:
About the design/building process and construction progress, contact:
Kevin Jensen, PE, LEED AP, Project Manager, Public Works
(757) 385-1902 | kjensen@VBgov.com
About the project’s background & planning process, contact:
Brian Solis, AICP, LEED Green Associate, Parks & Recreation’s Planning, Design & Development Administrator
(757) 385-1109 | bsolis@VBgov.com
About the operation and programming of the recreation center, contact
Mary Cole, Programming & Operations Administrator, Parks & Recreation
(757) 385-1260 | mcole@VBgov.com
About the programming and future management of the community park and skate park, contact:
Rick Rowe, Parks & Natural Areas Coordinator, Parks & Recreation
(757) 385-1120 | rfrowe@VBgov.com
This project will not affect the existing Bayside Community Recreation Center.