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Walnut Creek Magazine

Heather Farm Park’s Aquatics & Events Center Takes Shape

Jan 16, 2024 02:01PM ● By Harper Klein

(Schematic created by Noll & Tam Architects depicts aerial view of facility.)

At the January Parks, Recreation & Open Space (PROS) meeting, the city unveiled initial concepts for the new Aquatics & Events Center, a significant recreational project spread over 4.7 acres in Heather Farm Park. Situated at 301 N. San Carlos Drive, the ambitious development replaces both Clarke Memorial Swim Center and the Community Center with a combined modern facility. 

Designed by Noll & Tam Architects, the $77 million project is funded primarily by Measure O revenue, featuring a recreational pool, a 50-meter pool with depths ranging from 3.5 feet to 13 feet, as well as a substantial indoor community gathering space, outdoor event areas, gardens, and courtyards. The price tag encapsulates construction, soft costs, optional enhancements, and the eventual decommissioning of the Clarke Memorial Swim Center.

As part of its fundraising agreement with the city, the Walnut Creek Aquatic Foundation has pledged $3 million toward the venture, earning the right to secure a naming sponsor. 

Betsy Burkhart, Communications Manager, shed some light on the city's strategic decisions. “For financial reasons, in 2016 the city determined a new aquatics facility would include two pools,” she explained. “Along with the renovated and expanded Larkey Swim Center, the Heather Farm swim center was anticipated to meet a balance of needs.”

As part of the “Your Parks, Your Future” initiative, the two pool decision was reaffirmed by the City Council during public meetings between 2021-23. Despite space constraints, Burkhart said the site selection was a deliberate move to ensure uninterrupted aquatics programming at Clarke Memorial during the multi-year construction period.

Spanning approximately 24,000 square feet, the center also features a sizable party and meeting space, accommodating up to 300 guests. Parking on the adjacent “solar lot” has capacity for 165 vehicles. Notably, access to the creek corridors is maintained, though the iconic concrete fishing pond will see a reduction in size. The all-abilities playground, tennis courts, baseball/soccer fields remain untouched. Construction is expected to commence in May 2025, with a targeted grand opening in the summer of 2027.

As plans for the project evolve, the dialogue continues at city meetings slated for February 1 and February 5. Stay informed by visiting the projects' official website.  

Related: First Look: Conceptual Design for New Heather FarmAquatics & Events Center



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