RCA Suggested Programming & Related Building Design for the Proposed Rosedale Community Center

Note: The Rosedale Community Center project has been delayed/postponed twice now. It was orginally scheduled to break-ground in April 2009, then May and now appears not to begin until after summer programs end, presumably September. More information to follow when available...

The below text has been extracted from a original (the below includes revision made in April 2009) RCA letter to the Department of Parks & Recreation submitted at a meeting with DPR on January 8, 2009 to discuss the new Rosedale Community Center's programming.

Summary: A new Community Center (and Library) to replace the badly-aged and poorly designed structure currently housing the Rosedale Rec Center is key to the continued revitalization of the neighborhood and to improving community-wide participation at the center. Programming for people of all ages – with a continued emphasis on and improvement of youth-centered activities and sports – will help to foster a sense of ownership and pride. “Meet me at the Center” will become the new catchphrase for teens, dads, kids, seniors, moms and infants as well as working folks. Whether they meet up to play basketball, work on a quilt, teach a class, learn ways to save money on home repairs, borrow a book, do their homework, surf the internet, or cheer at a football game, the new Center will become THE center of the Rosedale community.

Source of Recommendations: In the fall of 2008, the Rosedale Citizens Alliance (RCA) conducted community surveys to find out what programs/activities people would like to participate in at the new community center (and at the current Rec Center, until the new facility is built). The survey also asked for programs/activities people might volunteer for at the center…either helping with existing programming or offering new activities.

The attached [see below] ‘design/room use suggestions’ is NOT an exhaustive list, but simply reflects the wishes and dreams of those surveyed. Please note that there is no precedent for adult programming at Rosedale, so people are unaware of what other Centers offer, and what they should ask for. The list does not necessarily include programming currently being offered by DPR at other Rec Centers by name (i.e. “Feeling Good” for Seniors, “Tween Club” or “Slimnastics”) but does reflect the desire for similar programs. RCA will continue to work with and survey community members, and DPR can help by talking about those programs that already exist and can be adapted for our community, especially those with no cost or a very low cost.

Integration of Programming and Design: Any design must have rooms that are usable and designed to support the programs that will be in them and the people who will use them. “Form follows function” should be the ideal of the design of the new Community Center instead of forcing programming into inappropriate rooms that will be underutilized.

Two important elements are the co-located library (additional footage, integrated into the design of the Community center, and accessible from both the street and from inside the Community Center); and the inclusion of the sports and recreation field and pool into the design of the new Center. Rosedale’s existing (and future) sports programs and the pool are both beneficial to the community, and when designing the new center, we strongly recommend the design include a “wall of windows” in the main entry-way or other common area, so that people inside the center building can watch the games/swimming, while participating in classes inside, and those outside can know they are being viewed by a larger audience. This ‘live tv screen’ concept helps encourage participation inside and out, builds community spirit, offers an ever-changing view for those inside, and increases security.

Similarly, replacing the current ‘semi-underground’ structure – which is uninviting and unsafe, since people below-ground can’t be seen from the street – with a structure that is surrounded by grass, trees, plantings, bike racks, seating areas, chess tables, playgrounds, tennis courts, bocce and ring-toss courts and other park-like amenities encourages participation by community members, increasing the population that uses the site and encouraging a mixing of ages at the Center.

In the spring/summer of 2007, RCA members conducted a tour of several DC Recreation Centers to get a sense of the variety of programming being offered, as well as to see examples of potential building models and room layouts for Rosedale’s new Center. The tour included Turkey Thicket, Takoma, King/Greenleaf, Trinidad and Sherwood and one or two others. Independently, several people visited The Arc (which houses a Boys and Girls Club) and more recently the Riggs-LaSalle Rec Center, which at a meeting with DPR officials, was mentioned as a possible model for the 16,000 sq/ft. Rosedale Center. Several of the sites are excellent examples of the integration of rooms and their function (Turkey Thicket, Trinidad); while others, especially King/Greenleaf, leave much to be desired. King/Greenleaf, though large and airy, has a focus almost entirely on the gym…classrooms and meeting space appear almost secondary, and don’t ‘work’ for groups and meeting space, since they are noisy, distant and difficult to monitor by Rec Center staff.

Riggs-LaSalle, recently built, is an example of a very simple design, with adequate though not ideal integration of rooms and programming. The site does have nice touches, including exterior seating, bike racks, outdoor playgrounds and chess table and plantings (as well as some nice, not-too-expensive entryway and window designs). The interior has the advantage of an “off-set” entrance to the gym so that people entering the building don’t see ‘only’ the gym. The center entry hallway has ping-pong and table hockey which gives a sense of activity and is easily monitored from the desk and the administrative office, but does add a level of noise that is almost prohibitive for adults and seniors. Smallish but functional rooms down two corridors include a senior room with couches, a weight room (requested by the community), an arts and crafts room, a computer room and several general and meeting rooms. The layout again offers little monitoring of the more distant rooms, but they do have hall windows and do provide meeting space. There is no library, though a large room along the main entryway could have been turned into a library/computer room/study area, if desired. The kitchen did not have any stove; and the fridge was too small, and there were inadequate cabinets, storage, and counterspace to allow preparation for large events, or to allow cooking and nutrition classes. There was no ice machine (visible).

The list of ‘rooms and programs’ that is attached [see below] is not complete, since the community survey is ongoing (if a room isn’t listed, doesn’t mean we don’t want it...it means it hasn’t yet been mentioned). It does reflect RCA’s effort to match up the suggestions and requests we have received to date with the type of room that would be best suited for that activity/group.

Specific Needs and Additional Uses: RCA has tried to take into account the specific requests of the Rosedale Youth Institute (RYI), which runs sports programs at the site, in several of our design requests, as well as those of other groups/people who run outdoor activities. The RYI sports schedule sometimes requires access to certain aspects of the center (showers, storage facilities, bathrooms, ice machines) in the early morning or late at night. We have indicated these special design requests where possible.

We have also tried to indicate any special ‘equipment’ that might be needed in some rooms for specific activities (mirrors, barres, stage-lighting, extra sinks, a high-grade kitchen) and also any build-ins that we could think of, such as a stage, dressing rooms, etc.

Additionally, the Center might be an excellent place for the Police Department to have an office, to give them a place to interact with the youth and teens in the area in a neutral and more relaxed setting, while giving officers a place to hold meetings and even do shift changes.

The Center, because of the location and new construction, might be ideal as a designated site for disaster operations to be set up during a natural or other emergency. While we don’t presume to know city or federal policy, or Homeland Security requirements or funding aid for such sites, the presence of a fully-equipped kitchen, large-scale ice-making capability, and the opportunity to build large, secure storage facilities for supplies would seem to make the site a natural place for such uses, if the need arises.

RCA looks forward to working with DPR and the design team that is selected, and we will continue to help in any way we can to make the new Rosedale Community Center THE center of the community.

For further information, contact Brit Wyckoff, RCA Public Outreach Committee Co-Chair at rosedaledc@gmail.com

Below are the “Programming Ideas By Room” for the New Rosedale Community Center (The result of a community survey conducted October-December 2008 as well as ongoing discussions at Rosedale Citizens' Alliance Meetings).

1. Central Entry Area

(Equipment: Seating, magazine racks, possibly some moveable games/tables)

Include: "Wall of windows” to allow viewing of sports fields/pool and a seating areas for visitors, and those watching the outside activities.

2. Welcome and Information Desk

3. Guard Desk (ideally, any ‘guard’ would be integrated into the running/programs of the center)

4. Administrative Office & Related Storage Room/Medical Area

5. MPD Office

6. Library

Additional footage, co-located library branch staffed by a librarian and research assistant, with full programming). Accessible from the street and from inside the Community Center. Computer access to research database, catalog, etc. Including children’s area, periodicals and magazines, research materials, books for all ages, quiet study area, tutoring area, etc.

7. Computer/Quiet Room (accessible to library, though open at hours when library is closed). Suggestion: This room should be visible from Welcome Desk/Administrative Offices.

Senior and Adult Computer classes
Kids Computer classes
Resume and job search classes
Typing courses
Homework help
Job Search skills/resume writing
Writing and editing class
Educational computer games
SAT Prep
GED training

8. Teen Game Room (Should be visible from the Administrative Offices and Desk)

(Equipment: storage cabinets, coat hooks, CD player; DVD/TV; Video games, pool/ping pong, etc.)

Ping Pong
Skoosh ball
Air Hockey
Board Games

9. Multi Purpose & Meeting Room

(Equipment: Whiteboard; Sound System/Microphone; Projector; TV, DVD, lecturn)

Meeting space for the community
After-School Programs
Feeding programs (after-school; summertime breakfast & lunch; senior snacks)
Girl Scouts; Boy Scouts Meetings
Socials and Dances
Bridge, Dominoes, Checkers
Chess Club
Book Club
Nutrition and Diet
CPR and Red Cross Training
GED classes
Pre-natal and Parenting Classes
4-H meetings

10. Dance & Exercise Room

(Equipment: Mirrored wall, barre on one side, permanent or removable ‘dance’ flooring; sound system for music.)

Ballet (all ages)
Tap (all ages)
Hand-dancing (all ages)
Exercise: “Mommy and Infants”; Children, Young Adult,
“Senior Seated” Exercises
Yoga and stretching (all ages)
Low-impact aerobics for Seniors

11. Daycare Room

(Equipment: storage, cabinets, sink, fridge, microwave)

Mommy and Me classes
Parenting Classes (hands-on)
Early education

12. Senior lounge

(Equipment: couches, chairs, tables, lamps, storage cabinets, coat hooks, magazine racks)

Music collection
Reading Group
Card Games, including Whist
Knitting and Crocheting

13. Classrooms/Training Rooms (2) (Smaller then large Community Meeting Room)

(Equipment: Chalkboard, whiteboards/screen/projector/sound system)

SAT and Math prep
Afterschool homework coaching
Health Care/Red Cross courses
RYI Indoor Sports Training and Meeting Room
Reading Club
Smaller community/local organization meetings
Supreme Teens
Language classes
Remedial reading
Young Ladies on the Rise

14. Arts & Crafts Rooms (2)

(Equipment: Sinks (two levels, for kids and adults) counters, storage and cabinets, additional electrical outlets in floor; sewing machines)

Arts and Crafts (toddlers to teens)
Senior Crafts
Knitting and Needlework
Fashion Lab (Sewing and Design)
Painting (finger painting to still life)
Jewelry Making

15. Kitchen

(Equipment: Stoves/ovens; sinks, large fridge(s); ice-makers; cabinets, storage, counterspace)

Note: Kitchen is to be used for classes, feeding programs for kids, events, possibly emergency support. Also, either kitchen should be accessible to RYI and other sports programs when center is closed (to accommodate late/early games schedule; or an ice-machine and fridge should be available to them in an area they can access without entering center

Eat Right Club – nutrition classes for all ages, diabetics, weight control
Budget shopping for young mothers, seniors
Cooking Lessons for new mothers, teens, kids
Regional and Foreign Cuisines
Cooking lessons for Men and Boys
Emergency Response Center

16. Arts & Theater Room

(Equipment required: stage with stairs on/off; dressing room access; lighting setup; Microphone and Sound System/Board; Piano/other instruments)

Theater Arts (all ages)
Singing Lessons
Dance Recitals
Young Ladies Fashion Shows/Modeling
Music lessons (jazz, guitar, cello, etc)
Radio Skills
Toastmasters/Public Speaking
Community Events
RYI and other Sports Awards Events
Plays, musicals, presentations

17. Dressing Room (adjacent and accessible to Theater Room)

18. Sound/Lighting Booth

19. Gym (fully equipped, with seating, scoreboard, sound system, etc.)

Exercise Mats (all ages)
Wintertime running track
Senior Exercise and walking
Yoga and stretching
Cardiac Training

20. Weight Room

21. Storage Facilities (for Arts & Crafts, Gym, Daycare, Theater, etc.)

22. Storage Facilities (for RYI Sports and other authorized sports programs that are accessible during times when Center is closed, but sports activities are going on)

23. Bathrooms/Showers/Lockers

Note: Here, a separate entrance is needed so they are accessible to RYI and other authorized sports programs during game time, even if Center is closed.

24. Outdoor Sports Fields/Pool

RYI Football and other programs
Tennis Courts
Basketball Courts
Running/walking track
Flag Training
Roller Skating rink
Swimming Pool
Senior water aerobics/low impact
Mothers and infants swimtime/playtime
Red Cross Water Safety (all ages)
Physiotherapy (in conjunction with hospital/physio-training program)
Swim meets

25. Outdoor Amenities

Bike racks
Chess tables/chairs
Seating areas
Walking paths
Picnic tables (grills, etc.)
Accessible ice machines/bathrooms

Note: ideally, for sports programs and some community events, ice, bathrooms and kitchen (or a 2nd, more limited kitchen area with/ fridge/ice machine/sink) should be available during the times when the Center is closed)

26. Outdoor Activities Areas

Playground (2) (jungle gym, swings, etc.)
Play area (with hard and soft surfaces, for jump rope, hopscotch, etc.)
Summertime sprinklers (to run through)
Urban Garden/4-H (need boxes, soil, accessible water)
Gardening—Kids, Adults, Senior, Organic
Grow Your Own Food and Cook It!
Ecology and Environment
Keeping DC Green (Kids and Adults)
Putting Green
T. Woods “Tiny Champions” for youngsters
Senior Tigers
Bocce Court
Horseshoe Pitch

27. Green Building Practices

Green Roof/Green Wall
Grey Water for watering gardens/plantings/drought-tolerant plantings and practices
Treated/tinted Windows to reduce sun
LEED standards
Skylights for natural light
Programmable heat/ac (also keep ac lower in summer, heat lower in winter)
Permeable paving stones in parking area.


Tom A. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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Tom A. said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tom A. said...

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Ken said...

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Ken G