Kirkland is challenged by the limited and lack of dedicated indoor active/athletic recreation space. The 2001 Comprehensive Plan defines a service standard for indoor athletic recreation space as 500s.f. per 1000 population served. We have no dedicated space to offer indoor athletic recreation space to the community of 45,000 citizens. Past and present Park Boards adopted work plans that included objectives that develop strategy for determining future indoor recreation space needs. In addition, we have a joint use agreement with Lake Washington School District to use their facilities after school hours. This is helpful but limited to use for after school programs and is limited in the total number of hours available. Additionally, the gymnasiums are designed to meet school programs and not for multi-generational recreation and health fitness activities.
The Park Board and City Council both approved this CIP project, to complete a feasibility study and design plan for the construction and operation of an indoor recreation facility.
Current Facility Uses
At present, Kirkland has two Community Centers with classroom space, but no gym or fitness, or active recreation space. In addition we own and lease the Kirkland Teen Union Building and the Kirkland Performance Center. The Parks and Community Services Department has been fortunate to use Lake Washington School District indoor facilities for City sponsored recreation activities and programs. However, increased demand for sports programs and limited availability of School District facilities continue to fuel the need for additional City-managed public recreation facility space. Following is a list of our current facilities, use patterns, and limitations.
North Kirkland Community Center
North Kirkland Community Center consists of a large multi purpose room, a kitchen, five classrooms, two office spaces, and a lounge, approximately 12,000 sf. We currently offer programs specializing in preschool, adult classroom fitness, youth, arts and crafts, dance, parent/child classes, drama, child development, music, and adult special interest. We serve approximately 5300 individuals every year.
Peter Kirk Community Center
Formerly the Kirkland Community Senior Center , this downtown Center consists of a main auditorium, six classrooms, billiards room, lounge and office space. In addition, we program classes in the Teen Union Building computer lab, art room, photography studio, and additional conference room. Total size is 11,000 square feet. Currently, we offer specialized programs for seniors during the day time hours, and have expanded to offer evening programs to the general community. By expanding programs into the evening hours we have been able to address the need in the community for additional adult special interest classes. During the daytime, you will see the center fully utilized offering programs for seniors ages 50+ involved in a variety of programs from fitness, dance, yoga, computer classes, health and nutrition classes, legal, financial, and health services. We also offer a Chinese and Latino senior program in native languages, responding to the need of the increased immigrant and refugee population in our area. In the evening, we offer fitness and dance classes, and a variety of special interest classes, i.e. financial planning, investing, power of attorney and guardianship, classes to assist with taking care of a parent, interior design, etc. Overall we serve approximately 5800 individuals annually at this Community Center.
We rely on our City/School Partnership for facility space for our indoor sports programming. We utilize 12 elementary schools, three junior highs, and 2 high schools. Currently we offer various volleyball, basketball and drop in programs for youth, ages 8-13, and adults. Following current trends, we are starting to program more preschool and younger children’s sports programs, ages 3-7, and increase offerings in adult introductory sports programs. We serve approximately 4000 individuals per year.
Kirkland Teen Union Building
One of our newest facilities at 6000 sq.ft, the KTUB was designed by teens for teens, and consists of a dance floor, lounge, coffee shop, computer lab, music studio, arts room, photography lab, stage, and office space. Through a contractual partnership, Friends of Youth offers various opportunities for teens in our community. The KTUB mission is to “empower young people to become active, caring and responsible members of the community”. Some of the more popular activities include music shows, dances, drop in leisure activities, and some of their outdoor adventure activities. It is a vibrant center, which is enjoyed by approx.5000 individuals per year.
What wasn’t designed as part of the teen center was active recreation. There is no gym, weight room, fitness facility, showers, rock climbing wall, etc. There is certainly a need for more active recreational opportunities for teens. This is especially in light of the recent studies that have been published highlighting obesity in youth.
Community Survey of Indoor Recreation Needs: 2002
In response to the 2002 Park Bond Exploratory Committee interest to gain a better perspective on the need for indoor recreation facilities and programs, staff initiated a community needs survey. The survey was designed to determine whether or not there was a need for additional indoor recreational facilities in the City of Kirkland. We contracted with Carolyn Browne Associates to conduct the survey and to provide a final report. The methodology, survey data, and report are available upon request.
Dominant themes from both a statistically valid community telephone random survey and current user survey included:
· Just over half – 53% - of Kirkland residents have someone who uses indoor recreation facilities.
· Those most interested in indoor recreation facilities tend to be younger and have children
· Fitness equipment (68 %) and an indoor pool ( 48 % )are the most desired indoor facilities.
· A majority of respondents ( 61%) are going to a large, indoor multi-use facility for their activities, and 37% are traveling five or more miles to get to this facility.
· Large percentage willing to support a bond to create new indoor recreation space ( 65 % ).
· Majority are involved in wide variety of activities.
· Most important features a recreation space are proximity to home and times available for use.
· Majority willing to pay extra fees for classes, recreational activities in addition to a bond( 57%).
The survey found Kirkland to have a very active population that has a keen interest in both indoor and outdoor recreational opportunities.