Community Center Expansion Frequently Asked Questions
What does the Community Center Expansion Project include?
The proposed expansion would add approximately 24,000 sq. ft. to the existing 13,000 sq. ft. facility, including a 6-lane competition-sized pool and activity pool; additional multipurpose space for meetings, classes, and other programming; more fitness space; locker rooms; full kitchen; office space; more parking.
Why is the expansion needed?
Due to 30% population growth in Snoqualmie and high membership saturation rates at the Snoqualmie Community Center/YMCA (Y) over the past decade, the current facility is insufficient to meet demand for before and after school programs, health and wellness programs, meeting space, and fitness space. Additionally, the upper Snoqualmie Valley significantly lacks aquatics space for swimming and water safety education – with only one 85-year-old pool to serve an area that has experienced significant population growth over the past two decades. This has led to swim lesson wait lists of 400+ in a region filled with families, rivers, and lakes.
Would the Y continue to run the expanded facility?
Yes. The City and the YMCA of Greater Seattle will negotiate a new operational agreement for an expanded facility with an aquatics center.
What will the expansion project cost?
The current cost estimate is approximately $28.3 million.
How will the expansion be funded?
The City currently has $15 million in project funding secured. It is expected the Y will also contribute approximately $2 million through grants and fundraising. The City is actively seeking grants and partnerships for the project. In March 2023, the City applied for a $5 million King County Parks Levy grant. We have also requested project funding from our 5th District State Representatives through future state budget grants. After all grant and partnership options have been pursued, potential funding sources include the next biennium budget and/or councilmanic bonds. Given the significant need for aquatics space to meet water education and safety needs, as well as non-aquatics space for senior and youth programs, we are optimistic about grant funding and partnerships for this important project, which would limit any remaining required funding.
Will the City ask voters to approve a property tax increase to fund the project?
No. The City’s plan is to expand the community center without a voter-approved capital bond that would increase property taxes. This type of supermajority bond is difficult to pass in Washington State. The City attempted bond initiatives to construct a large community center with aquatics (the last one 15 years ago), and although a majority of voters approved, it was not the state-required super majority level of 60%. Listening to voters, the City built the existing small community center in 2012 - with plans to expand in the future - and utilized an agreement with the Y to operate the facility. This model has proven highly successful since the facility’s opening, with the Snoqualmie Community Center/YMCA having one of the highest membership saturation rates in the country. In fact, the City of Sammamish modeled its successful operational agreement with the Y to run its community center and aquatics center after the Snoqualmie/YMCA agreement.
When could the expanded community center be ready?
The earliest is summer 2025. In February 2023, the state approved a design-build option for this project, which saves time and money compared to the typical bid process. In April 2023, through an open Requests for Quotes (RFQ) process, the City and a Y representative selected a builder. That builder will select a designer, and in June 2023, the City Council will be asked to approve a design contract for the project. In December 2023, with design complete, it is anticipated the Council will be asked to approve a construction contract. With approved design and construction contracts in place, Community Center expansion construction could commence in 2024.
Will the facility remain open during construction?
Yes. The expansion design and construction plans will accommodate keeping the current facility open to the public while the building is expanded.
What about parking?
The project is planned to incorporate additional parking spaces to meet requirements. Angled parking on Ridge Street is one possibility. As the design progresses, the City will explore all options for additional parking.
What about additional traffic in an area with a school and park?
Historically, busier times for the Community Center are during non-school hours and busier times for the park are on weekends and summer when school is out, and traffic is lighter.
Is the Community Center/YMCA open to the public or can only members use it?
All community members, whether they are members or non-members, can use the facility. It is open to the public now and will continue to be when expanded. As a nonprofit, the Y’s inclusive mission ensures that no community member is turned away from programs and services regardless of their ability to pay. The City and Y’s operational agreement ensures the facility is open to the community. The Snoqualmie Indian Tribe contributes annual funding for scholarships and reduced-cost programs to support the inclusive, community-driven mission of the Community Center/YMCA. Additionally, there are free daily drop-in hours for teens; available daily passes; as well as many other free community events and activities. All Y programs are open to members and non-members, but in some cases, there are different fees. For more details, please visit www.snoqualmiewa.gov/638/Community-CenterYMCA
Why doesn’t the City just run the Community Center?
The operations agreement between the City and the YMCA of Greater Seattle benefits the City and its residents by harnessing the Y’s nationally recognized expertise in community center and aquatic facility operations while reducing financial risk to the City’s general fund. The financial responsibility for daily operations and building maintenance of the Snoqualmie Community Center/YMCA is that of the YMCA of Greater Seattle. This means property taxes are not used for facility maintenance and operations. An additional benefit of this operational model is that only residents who choose to use the facility contribute funding for its operations through monthly membership fees and/or daily drop-in passes vs. that of an operational model funded by property taxes. Examples of community center property tax operational models are Issaquah and Si View Metro Parks Community Centers which are funded by property taxes and program fees, which means all property owners pay to operate the facilities, regardless of whether property owners use them.
Where on the property will the pool be located?
The conceptual plan has the pool located in the expansion area on the west end of the current facility where the tennis courts are located. There will be a 6-lane competition-sized pool as well as an activity pool.
Will the tennis courts be relocated?
Yes. The City is currently working on planning and design to relocate two tennis courts and add three pickleball-only courts. One possible relocation area is adjacent to the lower soccer field on the south side of the existing walking path. The basketball court will also be moved from its current location to the west side of the community center near Cascade View Elementary School to make way for a splash pad that will begin construction this year.
If tennis and pickleball courts relocate next to the lower soccer field, will families still be able to sled down ‘kite hill’?
The City recognizes many residents enjoy sledding at Snoqualmie Community Park during the few days it snows each year. This will be taken into consideration with the new design and every effort will be made to preserve this use.
Is there an option to partner with Si View on a large regional aquatics facility?
Si View’s proposed regional option was considered and declined by the City Council due to the expensive construction costs of nearly $50 million which is contingent on a voter-approved capital bond from a taxing district to which the City does not belong. Given that supermajority capital bonds are exceedingly difficult to pass, the requested large $15 million capital contribution from the City would come with no guarantee the facility would be built and if it were, it would require increased property taxes for Si View Metro Parks District. Additionally, larger competition pools with diving tanks require significantly higher ongoing maintenance, operation costs, and liability compared to traditional 6-lane competition/instructional pools. Si View would need an additional maintenance and operation tax levy to operate this phase 2 pool option.
Expanding the city-owned community center facility with both aquatics and non-aquatics programming space will meet the needs of residents now and well into the future and is also responsive to survey data that showed residents overwhelmingly prefer a central Snoqualmie pool location for maximum accessibility for youth, adults, and seniors.
These factors are what led to City Council Resolution 1520 that declined Si View’s regional facility proposal in 2019.
Would the expansion's aquatics component compete with the pool Si View is proposing?
No. The aquatics facilities being proposed by the City and Si View are complementary. Si View is proposing a facility with a multipurpose pool containing 3 to 4 lap lanes and recreational aquatics space. The City is proposing a 6-lane competition-sized pool that could host lessons, water safety education, and local competitions, along with a separate activity pool. Both Si View and the City proposals can be supported by their respective constituents and are centrally located to best serve those constituents.