Edited CPWoodsClubhouse 0038
Photo credit: Katelynn Winebrenner

Construction on the long-awaited College Park Woods Clubhouse could begin as soon as March  and finish by the end of the year, when it will officially open to the public, according to city projections.

The College Park City Council approved a $1.3 million contract on Feb. 13 with Waldorf-based Rainbow Construction Co. to bring to fruition more than half a decade’s worth of preparation.

“This is a dream come true,” Bonnie McClellan, the vice chair of the College Park Woods Neighborhood Watch, said. “It will make a very big difference for our community–and the entire community–because it’s going to be a very usable space.”

The new community center has been in the works since July 2018, when the city bought the old College Park Woods Swim Club facility. 

The city contracted Broughton Construction Co. to demolish the outdated facility and fill the old pool before starting construction. Production and permitting setbacks during the pandemic forced Broughton to leave the agreement before starting construction, which paused the project until now, according to College Park Director of Public Works Robert Marsili.

The lack of a community center has meant local neighborhood groups have had no indoor space to gather, College Park City Councilmember Maria Mackie (District 4) said.

“Many of our activities have been underneath the gazebo in the pouring rain,” Mackie said, “so it’ll be a nice thing to have for the District 4 community, but also for the city.” 

The club house, to be located at 3545 Marlborough Way, will provide indoor space for a variety of gatherings and events. Blueprints depict two main meeting rooms separated by a noise-reducing, accordion-style divider that can open to combine the two spaces.

“​​The timeline looks very reasonable that if we get moving in the spring, hopefully by the end of the year it will be built,” Mackie said.

The property was once a flourishing swim club until its pool facilities fell into disrepair under private owners. The city will own the community center.

 “I think there’s a lot of really precious history,” Mackie, who grew up and also raised her children in College Park Woods, said. “I’m excited. We have lots of fond memories of crab feasts and taco night, and, you know, playing shuffle ball.”

Developers imagined the space to accommodate a variety of different activities, such as tutoring, parties, low-impact workouts like yoga, choir practices and more. Mackie said there have been many visions for the outside of the building, including plans for butterfly gardens and walking paths. 

Courtesy of City of College Park
Courtesy of City of College Park
Courtesy of City of College Park
Courtesy of City of College Park
Courtesy of City of College Park
Courtesy of City of College Park

Eventually, the city will look into adding sustainable upgrades like solar panels on the roof, Marsili said.

The building amenities will also include a gender-neutral bathroom complete with a baby-changing station, as well as a kitchen with a coffee bar.

The city used a state Program Open Space grant to fund the purchase of the old swim facility for about $580,000, according to city officials. 

The program administers funds to local communities for recreational space. It is a source of funding for other areas around College Park as well, such as the now-completed improvements on the Hollywood Commercial District Streetscape and planned renovations on Duvall Field in north College Park.

The city had planned to renovate Duvall Field in the early 2000s but lacked funding and deferred the project until 2018. Completed that year, Phase 1 of the project included a new concession building and restroom. 

The budget for Phase 2 would allow for new turf, irrigation, small fields, an amphitheater and a playground. Those amenities were approved in August 2019 as part of the ordinance that authorized the new College Park City Hall. 

The project is in its final design phase, according to the city’s website, and construction could start this year as well. The website advises that the field will be closed to the public for a year, starting March 1.