The summer heat wave that gripped the area last week had some county residents looking for a place to cool down.
For Silver Spring residents, this time next year a major pool and recreation facility is scheduled to open that will offer not only a chance to cool down but also take part in activities ranging from dance to cooking to fitness and more.
Montgomery County Recreation plans to open the Silver Spring Recreation and Aquatics Center, a nearly 120,000 square foot facility with three pools, a community center, and a fitness center and gym. The aquatics segment will include a competition pool, a lap pool, and a recreational pool.
The $55 million project, the first county recreation center in downtown Silver Spring, is on target to open late spring or early summer at 1315 Apple Ave., a few blocks north of the Metro station, said Melanie Sassie, division chief, recreation facilities and aquatics for the Recreation Department.
“This is not just a pool, it’s a monster,” says Sassie. “It combines an aquatic facility and a large recreation center. We do not have this kind of space down county.”
Along with the pools, it’s four floors will offer a social hall and teaching kitchen, a fitness area with exercise rooms, a high school-sized basketball court, various activity and game rooms, hot tubs, a dance studio and a community lounge. In addition, there will be a senior wellness center operated in partnership with Holy Cross Hospital.
Visitors aren’t allowed on-site during the construction of the project.
Meanwhile, the agency is in the midst of an outreach program with community organizations and neighborhood groups in the Silver Spring area to garner input on programs to offer, according to Sassie. She says that surveys will be sent out in July to spread the word about the new rec center and gather ideas from residents on uses for the space.
The center is part of a larger development of the Elizabeth Square apartment complex from the Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County in partnership with Lee Development Group. That project calls for 887 residential units and 6,000 square feet of retail space in two apartment buildings that will flank the rec center, according to a HOC press release.
The complex is also to be home to the Montgomery County Sports Hall of Fame, and the county has commissioned a larger-than-life sculpture of Olympic gold medal winner Dominique Dawes for the facility.
Silver Spring native Dawes competed in three Olympic Games, winning gold at the 1996 Olympics in the women’s team competition, and a bronze medal in the individual floor exercise competition. She also won bronze medals at the 1992 and 2000 games.
Countywide, the rec department’s seven outdoor pools are currently open only on weekends. On June 18, the pool’s summer session begins with weekday hours running from 1 to 4 p.m., and 5 to 8 p.m., and weekend hours running from noon to 3 p.m., and 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Photo and Video Courtesy Montgomery County Government Department of General Services