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Burlingame recreation center plans progressing: Most popular option is building at same location with underground parking
February 22, 2014, 05:00 AM By Angela Swartz Daily Journal

Angela Swartz/Daily Journal
Children and their parents participate in the ‘Peninsula Music Together’ class at the Burlingame Community Center.

Plans to build a new Burlingame recreation center to replace the out-of-date facility are moving forward with continued community input, while a 35,500-square-foot building located at the same location is the front-runner.

The city has said the current building is not seismically sound. It is looking at a variety of options, including three possible locations for a new building, all of which would still be east of the Burlingame Avenue Caltrain Station on the residential stretch of Burlingame Avenue. The first would be a 30,200-square-foot building closer to Caltrain, the second would be the popular 35,500-square-foot building located where the current community center is and the last would be a 41,900-square-foot structure a little farther down the street. The current structure is 25,000 square feet. At this point, the city is wrapping up the needs assessment, site analysis and program options.

Hillsborough resident Peggy McLaughlin said she would like a new center to be traditional in style, matching a building like the main library.

“[It should] take advantage of the visible setting,” she said. “I do yoga here, so I want to make sure we have those kinds of nice rooms. I’d like a welcome, friendly atmosphere.”

Fittingly, having a really functional exercise room was another front-runner in the city’s community survey of about 200 people.

Back in January 2013, the Parks and Recreation Department began work with Group 4 Architects on a master design plan for the community center. A project management team formed out of city staff and the architectural team, as well as a community advisory committee composed of leaders and community stakeholders. There were focus group meetings with seniors; the Lions Club; teens; neighbors; families with preschool-aged children; and school-aged parents, parent teacher associations and teachers. A community meeting was also held on Sept. 18, 2013.

The project management group is developing design concepts and coming up with an implementation plan, which it will refine and present a recommendation, said architect Dawn Merkes, the principal for Group 4. At this time, there is no funding allocated for the project, so securing funding would also be part of the process.

Other needs for the building include functional improvements and getting the structure up to American with Disabilities Act standards. Adding additional classrooms was also popular, according to public feedback received. Merkes said some site goals include a better building and site relationship, connecting the center to the park; safe and convenient access by car, pedestrian or bike; visibility from downtown and the Caltrain station; complementing the residential neighborhood, especially when it comes to existing and proposed community uses; minimizing the traffic and parking impact to the surrounding neighborhood; easy access to and from outdoor activity areas; and providing improved safety for the playground.

Having a sustainable building is a key thing to resident Jeff Londer.

“I would like to see the building and parking have as small a footprint as possible; it’s essentially a park,” he said.

The community also seemed in support of a two-story building to accommodate a larger building program on a smaller footprint of 25,000 square feet, according to the survey.

In terms of parking, the city would have to provide 143 parking spaces for both Washington Park and the new community center per the Institute of Transportation Engineers parking rate of 3.2 cars per 1,000 square feet of building area. The city is looking into providing a combination of surface and underground parking to meet minimum parking requirements and, if funding is available, utilize under-building parking to minimize surface parking within the park and utilize off-site parking strategies for large events and peak use.

Parks and Recreation Commissioner Donna Colson brought up concerns that underground parking could be difficult to maintain with Burlingame’s water table levels.

Merkes said the main library has basement parking and is designed waterproof like a bathtub. Rising sea level is also being considered, Merkes said.

“There’s ways to mitigate it,” she said. “There definitely is a cost implication; underground parking is significantly more expensive.”

Meanwhile, other residents would like to see a preschool brought back to the building, including Nancy Dobson who taught preschool at the center when there was one on site. She supports keeping the center at the same site it is now, but making it two stories and having underground parking by the tennis courts.

“There’s less impact on the trees by not moving the whole building,” she said.

Dobson noted having a preschool at the center makes it easier for neighbors who don’t want to have to drive their children across town to preschool at Village Park Preschool.

Pictorial kiosks with information and surveys were provided at events throughout the summer and at the Fresh Market this fall. Future opportunities for community input will be available at an upcoming Planning Commission meeting, a Fresh Market and a City Council meeting. Other possible meeting locations are being discussed.

For updates on the project go to burlingame.org/index.aspx?page=3294.

angela@smdailyjournal.com

(650) 344-5200 ext. 105

 

 

Tags: building, parking, community, would, center, square,


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