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Friday, May 4, 2018

Report recommends Audrey Moore RECenter be demolished and replaced

The pool at Audrey Moore.
A study of RECenters by a consultant team hired by the Fairfax County Park Authority calls for the Audrey Moore RECenter in Annandale to be replaced. Audrey Moore, built in 1977, is the oldest indoor recreation center operated by the Park Authority.

That’s one of the key findings in a report that analyzes usage statistics, costs and revenue, facility needs, and operational issues for the county’s nine recreational centers. The report, by Brailsford & Dunlavey Inc., was commissioned by the Park Authority after a 2015 needs assessment found residents place a high priority on indoor recreational facilities and believe upgrades are necessary.

The Park Authority will hold a public meeting to present the results of the sustainability study on June 5, 7 p.m., in Room 106/107 of the Herrity Building, 12055 Government Center Parkway in Fairfax.

The report recommends that four RECenters be expanded, including Providence, because they are undersized compared to the population they serve. “Expansion will facilitate generation of tax revenues, economic impact, and promote equitable access,” it states.

The Providence RECenter in Falls Church was built in 1982 and renovated several times, most recently in 1998. It is just 48,700 square feet, while Audrey Moore, the third largest RECenter, is more than 72,600 square feet.

Among other recommendations, the report calls for building a new RECenter in Reston and a new “competition sports center” somewhere in the county to rely on a “tournament-based business model” to generate revenue from people outside Fairfax County.’

The fitness center at Audrey Moore.
Revenue declining

The RECenter system’s revenue was $28.4 million in 2016, while expenses were $26 million. However, the cost recovery, at 109 percent in 2016, is down from 113 percent in 2007, meaning the system is slightly less profitable, states FCPA Systemwide Sustainability Plan for RECenters.

Operating revenue will continue to decline, and by 2035, the system’s expenses will exceed revenue, the report predicts.

Capital improvements to RECenters can be justified not only by the need to provide wellness and recreation for Fairfax County residents, the report states. The RECenter system “also drives recruitment and retention of businesses and families and heightens the success and reputation of Fairfax County.”

For each facility, the report analyzes demographic characteristics in its service area, usage statistics, revenue from passes and programs, and alternative options.

Aquatics and camps represent nearly 65 percent of all RECenter enrollments, followed closely by children/tots programs (12 percent), and exercise (9 percent). Camp revenue grew from $3.5 million in 2011 to $5.6 million in 2015.

In 2011, enrollment in all RECenter programs was slightly over 104,000. By 2015, enrollment had increased to 116,000. Nearly all the growth, however, was due to camps and aquatics programs.

The report notes that both Providence and Audrey Moore have some overlap, as both rely on residents of zip code 22003 (Annandale) for pass and program enrollment.

Audrey Moore obsolete

Audrey Moore has a slightly greater reliance on sports and fine arts programming than other centers. Its revenue from aquatics and tot programs are lower than the system average. It has one of three 50-meter pools in the system and is the only center with a pottery room.

Average household income in the Audrey Moore service area is $110,000. There are 35 consumer options in Audrey Moore’s primary service area, including the Fairfax Sportsplex.

The center has seen limited revenue growth over the previous three years with revenues stagnating at $3.6 million from 2014 to 2016.

According to the report, Audrey Moore needs extensive upgrades to maintain functionality. Specific critical needs identified in the report include rebuilding the check-in area, multipurpose rooms, and fitness rooms and adding a childcare room.

Because there are structural integrity issues in the existing facility and the cost of renovations would be comparable to new construction, the report recommends “the existing facility be demolished and rebuilt with a new state-of-the-art RECenter that includes multipurpose rooms, an inviting lobby and check-in area and that caters to market demand and enhances community responsiveness.”

The fitness center at Audrey Moore is “significantly undersized at just under 4,500 square feet,” the report notes. Adding a childcare room to the fitness center would help attract new members, and an expanded multipurpose gym would help meet demand for sports camps, thus enhancing revenue generation.

The pool at Audrey Moore has outdated filtration and HVAC system and needs scoreboard and seating upgrades for hosting competitive swim meets.

Expand Providence

Providence RECenter’s cost recovery of 110 percent ranks seventh in the system of nine centers.

“Providence is an older market with modest household income measurements,” the report notes. Average household income in the area served by Providence is $106,000. There are several fitness facilities within 2.3 miles of Providence, including two Gold’s Gyms, Xsport Fitness, and a 24 Hour Fitness center.

The revenue mix generated from programs at Providence is largely consistent with the average for all RECenters. Twelve percent of Providence’s program revenue is derived from exercise programs compared to just 8 percent for the system.

Providence should be expanded, the report says, because its small size restricts its ability to generate camp revenue, while “its antiquated fitness space suppresses membership sales.”

Among other improvements, the Providence center’s check-in area needs to be reconfigured to improve circulation, a larger fitness room with childcare and a small gym should be added, and the existing fitness room should be converted to a multipurpose room.


  1. Better yet, why doesn't the Park Authority turn it into an AirBNB destination to make money. That way the taxpayers won't get left with the tab for this "destination" facility and they will finally have the steady stream of profit they desire and their conversion to a "profit" making business will be complete.

    1. Ha. Except you do realize Fairfax County RECenters DO NOT run off of your tax dollars and are revenue based... maybe try and do some research for once in your life.

    2. Ha, ha... if you believe that I have a bridge to sell you. The county will do a BOND issue for this rec center and the debt will be paid by the taxpayers. If you think users pay for this they do pay some but not most as they don't make nearly enough revenue to fund these, not to mention the high priced county staff we pay for as well. For once in my life??? What do YOU know of my life? I know enough to know that over 700% of the money used by the Park Authority over the past 10 years has gone to recreation and 0% to natural resources which is an equally important part of their mission they ignore. I think if people want to join a high priced athletic facility they should, but I don't want to pay for it.

  2. The blog chose not to put my comment on because I mentioned the not PC mention of illegals was overtaxing these facilitates: Providence and Audrey Moore. I think the blog should pay a visit to the mens locker rooms and see how disgusting they have become. People bring bags of cloths and then after they swim they put in the saunas or over the hand dryers to dry them out. Additionally, kids are constantly pooping in the pools, its a sad commentary on what Fairfax in the beltway has become. These facilities at one time set the standards. Unfortunately that is now history.

    1. I no longer use the women’s locker room at providence for similar reasons. It’s trashy. There’s no understanding of rules about storing items, stalls reserved for elderly or handicapped, etc. i fault the county for not orienting the first time in the country residents. I also fault them for not keeping an eye on the locker rooms.

  3. Anon 5/6/18 5:27PM - My wife and I use Audrey Moore several times a week and we've never experienced what you are experiencing. While Audrey Moore can certainly use a refresh, I have not witnessed "illegals" drying their clothes on the hand dryers. I would agree with you about the "sad commentary" but not about what Fairfax has become but about your xenophobia and your lack of willingness to post publicly with your name. Sad, indeed.

    1. Thank you, Daren. I haven't had the kind of experience that 5:27 described, either, but I'd put the responsibility on the staff/management to keep things under control.

    2. Daren, happy to hear that you have not had any incidents at either facility. After having our lockers broken into at both facilities we have opted out of the Mason REC centers and now use Springhill. Its more civilized and I am comfortable with my wife going there without me. She was always nervous about going to swim at night at Audrey Moore and being in the parking area without someone else. And BTW on occasion I have seen gym and bathing suits on the hand dryers at both facilities.

    3. Oh yes, Springhill is a much cleaner facility. I also travel from Annandale to Springhill. Its worth the extra miles to get there. I am more at ease when I am and not the only English speaking person in the gym. Use to go to Providence, but the dirty, unkempt locker rooms, lack of operable lockers and the bathtub like experience in the pool has very much discouraged me from using that facility.

  4. Anonymous 5/10/18, 8:38 AM Again, I go to Audrey Moore very often and I do not understand your comment that you are "not the only English speaking person in the gym." I believe you are exposing your true colors. Sad, indeed.