Snoqualmie City Council Gives Green Light to Community Center Expansion and Pool Design Contract

During the August 14 City Council meeting, Councilmembers unanimously approved Resolution 1662 for the Phase 1 design services contract for the Community Center Expansion Project.

The project will expand the existing building at Snoqualmie Community Park and add an aquatics facility to meet community health and wellness programming needs, including swimming and water safety education. 

The Community Center Expansion Project is part of the City’s Capital Improvement Plan, which was approved by the City Council in 2022. The 2023-24 City budget contains a   $15 million appropriation to help fund the project. The City was also recently awarded a $1 million King County Parks Levy grant to partially fund the design contract. 

The $1.89 million design-build contract was awarded to Absher Construction, Inc. and includes pre-construction and design services for the project that will add approximately 24,000 sq. ft. to the existing community center, including a swimming pool; additional multi-purpose space for meetings, classes, and other programming; more fitness space; locker rooms; community kitchen; and office space.

Work to be completed by Absher Construction includes planning, programming, and predesign activities based on community input, staff recommendations and coordination with stakeholders and project partners. The work will create a conceptual development plan with enough detail to evaluate optimal building configurations, operational factors, revenue generation, and construction costs. 

The work scope also includes a guaranteed maximum project price for Council consideration and approval before proceeding with the final design and project construction. 

Design work will be completed over the next three months, with regular updates provided to the Council throughout the process. A near-final design and the guaranteed maximum price are anticipated to be presented to Council for consideration in late fall.  

The City continues to explore collaborative partnership opportunities with the school district and grants and state appropriations to fund the Community Center Expansion Project. Determining design components and associated costs will improve partnership discussions. 

“This phase 1 design contract is a major milestone for the Community Center Expansion Project, and I commend the Council for taking this momentous step,” said Mayor Katherine Ross. “The contract will assist the City in determining the project price to expand the community center. This expansion would enable the YMCA to provide important programs such as ongoing health and wellness, senior, youth, and aquatics programs.”

Snoqualmie Community Center/YMCA
The community center facility is owned by the City of Snoqualmie and operated on the City’s behalf by the non-profit YMCA of Greater Seattle through a long-term agreement. The facility was constructed in 2011 using funds provided by the developer of the master-planned Snoqualmie Ridge community, real estate excise tax, and grants. The facility is open to the public and will continue to be when expanded. The City’s operational agreement with the YMCA and the non-profit’s inclusive mission ensures public access through free teen drop-in hours, daily passes, monthly memberships, and scholarship programs for those with demonstrated financial needs. 

The existing undersized facility – also a designated City emergency shelter – is too small to support the current population, which has grown approximately 30% since it opened. The Snoqualmie Valley is also severely deficient in aquatics space to meet the demand for vital swimming and water safety education, with only one 85-year-old small pool to serve the community. 

For more information about the Community Center Expansion project, including a FAQ, visit

[Information provided by the City of Snoqualmie]

Comments are closed.


  • It will be interesting to see, after the city spends $1.89 million for the preliminary design, to see what the financial picture looks like. The city’s current estimate for this project (based just on concepts, not any actual design) is for the project to cost $28.3 million. This preliminary design contract will give a more refined price. I understand that the current contract is also supposed to provide more information about where the money might come from. The city’s website says $15.2 million would come from our local taxes (sales tax and real estate excise tax), and they HOPE they can find other sources such as grants that are willing to give us another $13 million.
    They say there will not be any additional property taxes, but we need to remember that the $15.2 million of sales tax and REET could be used for other projects in the city. That means that other things in the city budget (paying city workers, police, fire, fixing streets, maintaining parks, etc.) might result in the city asking voters to approve property tax increases. The city will be able to say “it isn’t for the community center”, but it will be the result of putting our existing tax money into the community center.
    The city website also talks about the 6 lane pool being used for swim competitions. This size of pool may be fine for teaching swimming and recreational & exercise use, but it is very small for competition. In private communications with a staff member in the High School’s swim program, I was told that this pool will not work for High School level competition. This facility will also not have a dive tank, so the diving portion of aquatic competition will not be available.
    I agree that more exercise space is definitely needed, and I feel that a good aquatic center somewhere in the region (for swim lessons, recreation, and exercise, and maybe competition) would be a very good thing. However, I think this diversion of tax money from other city priorities to a project that includes a small expensive pool is not the right way to manage our tax money.

  • Will there now be two community pools in Snoqualmie valley?

    Why is there no coordination and combining resources with mt si parks? What prevents to two entities from working together to serve the public and keep costs down?

    1. Si View Parks District engaged the city in discussions about having one larger combined aquatics facility. After talking with Si View, the city decided against going that way. The stated reason was that it would cost Snoqualmie too much. However, that was also at a time when Snoqualmie was estimating around $10 million for our own facility.

  • The Snoqualmie City Staff most involved with the original Snoqualmie Community Center development were Parks Director Gwen Voelpel and I. I worked on the creative financing side, and Gwen on everything else! We knew the community needed a pool, but at the time, it was just plain out of reach. I am so glad the community is now looking at expansion for a pool. in my 32 years as City Attorney, I consider the Community Center as one of my two most important accomplishments. The other was Snoqualmie Point Park. Good work, City Council!

  • Why are the cities of Snoqualmie and North Bend not collaborating on the build out of one pool?
    Instead there are now two pools planned for Snoqualmie Valley.
    Taxes will go up as a result. City Leadership is failing

  • The city leaders in Snoqualmie have only ever been interested in a pool on the Ridge. That is their call. The site will not support a facility large enough to meet the aquatics needs of the lower Snoqualmie Valley or provide a competition grade aquatics facility for our High School athletes on par with all other SVSD sports facilities. The vision of Si View Park District is to build a facility adequate to the regional need. Based on a needs analysis and a sound business plan the Si View Park District has moved forward, absent any support from Snoqualmie City leadership, in its efforts to meet the need that we all agree exists.
    The MPD sought to collaborate with the City of Snoqualmie in 2019 and planned to propose an aquatic facility adequate to the community need, built in Snoqualmie. The Snoqualmie City Council never considered the idea nor did they embrace the notion of collaborating with the MPD to build a public pool adequate to the regional need. They have been very clear that the only pool they would financially support must be located on the Ridge and run by the YMCA, not the MPD.
    The MPD has moved on and is currently seeking to pass a $20.3 million bond, with ~$10 million in grants and other funding, for a total cost of $30.3. This is to build a pool in North Bend that will support our region and provide opportunities for all age levels, interests, and abilities with no need to purchase a membership to be granted access. It will support youth, seniors, families and be a space where high our school swim team could train. When built it will have four competition size lanes for training, a zero gravity entry, with therapy and learn to swim areas. The project was designed by nationally recognized consultants with an eye toward efficient operation that supports revenue generation from programming to help cover operating costs.
    All the while the Snoqualmie City Leadership has repeatedly pressured our School District to commit to providing financial support for their vision of a pool, absent any hard numbers, business plan, or defensible cost estimates.

    1. Good Afternoon Councilmember Joeselyn,
      The Community Center Expansion design-build contractor is confident a recreation pool and 6-lane, competition equipped pool will fit on the city-owned property where the existing community center is located.
      You can also visit the Community Center Expansion FAQ for more info:
      Have a wonderful day,
      Danna McCall, City of Snoqualmie Public Information Officer/Communications Coordinator

      1. Hello Danna,
        I don’t see where we disagree, except perhaps on the spelling of my name, and
        Commissioner seems a more appropriate title although Councilmember is not wrong.
        Mark Joselyn

  • Snoqualmie City Residents,

    If you believe in Snoqualmie finding 16 million plus in Grants – dream on or ask where will the City find that kind of money?? Easy answer – Councilmanic Bonds, also called non-voter approved bonds. Just takes 4 Snoqualmie City Council Members to vote for these bonds. This is not a secret, former Council Member Lasse resigned over this and Council Member Holloway agreed on several Facebook posts in Feb 2023 that the council was told about this. These Bonds are considered by State Law to be Long Term Debt – one of two methods. The second method is voter approved bonds or 60% Voter Super Majority.

    Do not be fooled that you will pay nothing – you will pay in services for many years. The City will have to pay the Bond – principle and interest, then pay for services – police, fire, public works etc. Another tactic used by cities is to shore up low funds is run a local Levy — say Support Hiring More Police Offices will be the cry – the Bond payment goes out the back door and the public pays “again” through the front door with the levy to make up the depleted department fund.

    As I said Councilmanic Bonds will need 4 council members to vote for it. Next question – why would Snoqualmie council members vote for the Design Contract today without knowing they will vote for the Construction Contract in the future, unless they know they will vote for Councilmanic Bonds – otherwise it is a waste of public money. And no where is there language for a voter approved 60% Super Majority to be on the Ballot.

    Last Question – why would the Snoqualmie Mayor and Council pull the trigger in November 2022 with the Parametric Contract (Agenda Bill 22-138) for the YMCA with out the entire 30 million secured?? Of course, there was no transparency with the public or everyone would be on board and a council member would not have resigned. Then there is Snoqualmie’s Budget being flat as the Ridge Phases are all built out – boom to bust on sales tax and REET monies coming in. Continuing, Parametric in there January 2023 Application and Presentation to the State Capital Projects Advisory Review Board or Design/Build Committee for a “fast track approval” clearly states funding options to be Councilmanic Bonds for the construction phase. Parametric also states the project is 30 million now. Councilmanic Bonds have also been mentioned in passing in the local newspaper, but not explained and on past city Agenda Bills, but not explained.

    And as some of you have guessed – how deep as “City” tax payers is this hole? Transparency in government is a big deal – after residing in the valley, my home, for 46 years, some things in government just do not change and need to be put under the spot light.

    Best Regards,
    Chris Lodahl North Bend Mayor and Councilmember 90-95

    1. Council member Holloway does not have a facebook account nor do I post on facebook.
      Many assertions here I do not agree with, but will only speak on my own behalf.
      I believe that I made it very clear in the council debate on this, available on line for post research, That what I was voting for was for reasonable determination of potential cost and that this did not dictate my future votes on this.

      1. Living Snoqualmie Readers and Councilmember “Bryan” Holloway,

        I sincerely apologize for contributing comments to “Councilmember “ Bryan Holloway about Facebook Snoqualmie Ridge Posts when in fact I just learned there is another, spelled, “Brian” Holloway, who is a private citizen in Snoqualmie who made the Facebook Posts I referred to in my comment post above. Being an elected official is hard enough without being misquoted. I misspoke and sincerely apologize for my mistake.

        Chris Lodahl

    2. Hello Chris,
      It’s been a long time. I hope you are doing well.
      I wanted to share some public meeting information and links with you that I hope will provide answers and further clarifications for your assertions regarding the Parametrix contract and City Council decisions.
      Below you will find the committee and council meetings in which the Parametrix contract and Absher Construction Design-build contracts pertaining to the community center expansion project, which is a project included in the council-approved 2023-28 Capital Improvement Plan, were discussed at length by the Snoqualmie City Council.
      I hope these public meetings and Council discussions answer your questions and provide additional background.
      • Oct. 18, 2022 Parks and Public Works Committee meeting: – Timestamp: 4:40 – 45:15. 40+ minute discussion. Parametrix contract recommended to move forward to full council for further discussion.
      • November 14, 2022 City Council Meeting: – Timestamp: 47:30 – 1:06. 19+ minute discussion. Action: Parametrix contract approved (6-1 vote).
      • August 8, 2023 Parks and Public Works Committee meeting: – Timestamp: 6:10 – 26:10. 20-minute discussion. Design-build contract with Absher Construction recommended to move forward to full council for further discussion.
      • August 14, 2023 City Council meeting: – Timestamp: 1:22:50 – 2:54. 100+ minute discussion. Action: Design-build contract with Absher construction, with $1.89 million project design task order approved (7-0 vote).
      Additional public information:
      • City Council meeting agendas, minutes, recordings (all in one line item for each meeting):
      • Community Center Expansion Project FAQ:
      • Community Center Expansion Survey (2019):

      I hope the above public information is helpful to you.
      Have a wonderful day,
      Danna McCall, City of Snoqualmie Public Information Officer/Communications Coordinator

      1. Hello Danna,
        It has been a long time. I see both Commissioner Joselyn and I get attention – we must have struck a nerve at City Hall. I wanted to share some more information with you on the Councilmanic Bonds as I can see you have been busy for a Sunday at City Hall. Be sure to put in for overtime – I have an idea the boss will pay it.

        I see the Community Center Expansion FAQ was recently updated (Sunday) to Version 642 from Version 639 I used on Saturday. The old Version 639 said – “The City is exploring a funding option whereby Snoqualmie residents would not incur additional property taxes for the expansion”. I guess that was not a very true statement as “Councilmanic Bonds” are one of two “Long Term Debt Methods” allowed by State Law. Nor, is it free money, in fact it is taxpayer money. So, now the city changes its tune to the new Version 642 as – “After all grant and partnership options have been pursued, potential funding sources include the next biennium budget and/or “councilmanic” bonds.” Further, …….. “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 (60%) is difficult to pass in Washington State.” ……… Going public finally on “Councilmanic Bonds” are we or a cover up? The cover up is always worse than the crime in the public’s eyes.

        The committee and council meetings I had already viewed, so I went back over my notes. No mention of “Councilmanic Bonds” out loud, but the staff was quick to always say we are working on grants. There was a lot of council concern about the money in two regards – one the total amount of the project and not closing the 12 million gap anticipated after the 3 million in grants. Second, was the paying up to $100,000 to begin with and then the big one recently passed by the council for the 1.7 million Design Cost Contract. Also, the comments about the three 60% Super Majority voter bonds over the years having failed and if another Voter Bond went forward, it would die as well. But the best question was – when we receive the Design price or cost – how long is the construction price good for? The answer – “it is a moment in time”. The reply – It is a 1.7 million Design Cost then we have to make a decision, but still 12 million short without knowing where it will come from. Of course, the decision is “Councilmanic Bonds”. Just need 4 councilmembers to vote yes. All this was explained in my prior comment post. But time is getting short for the council, the sides of the box have been built and the lid on the box is about to be shut – December was mentioned.

        Lastly, I see you left off the links to the State of Washington Department of Enterprise Services, Capital Projects Advisory Review Board (CPARB), Project Review Committee (PRC). On January 26, 2023, Parametrix made an Application/Presentation for a Design/Built fast track procedure for the Community Center Expansion, which the state approved. These are the documents readers should look at – very informative on money, timelines and funding. The pieces start to come together:

        I hope the above comments and public information is helpful to you. Transparency to the public is always the best way.

        Have a wonderful day,
        Chris Lodahl, North Bend Mayor and Council 90-95

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