Baltimore City Recreation & Parks broke ground yesterday on the new Middle Branch Fitness & Wellness Center—a new facility in Baltimore's Cherry Hill neighborhood—and marked the occassion with a virtual online event.
In developing the concept for the new facility, located in Cherry Hill's Reedbird Park, the site and community played an extremely important role. Located at the terminus of the Gwynns Falls Trail, a 15-mile urban hiking and biking trail, the site serves as a connector within the community and Baltimore. As such, the design team capitalized on this concept, creating a nexus that fosters connections within the Cherry Hill community and greater region.
The project’s big idea was further advanced by the programmatic desires of the community. This neighborhood coveted something outside of the typical BCRP recreation center program: a safe year-round walking and running space for those of all ages and abilities. As a result, the indoor track became central to the project’s design as an opportunity to further promote collaborations and connections by linking all spaces together. Accessible via a sprint track, stairs, or elevator, the new track encircles the gymnasium, lounge, and fitness spaces and provides views to all interior programs as well as the surrounding park.
Scheduled to open in 2022, the new 42,520-SF recreation center will feature fitness space, a gymnasium accommodating basketball and volleyball, elevated walking/running track, indoor splash pad, natatorium connected to an outdoor pool via a large hydraulic door, community classroom and outdoor classroom space, flexible maker space, and support spaces. The project will also include phased renovations of the site for outdoor recreation, including an event lawn and a turf field to accommodate football, lacrosse, and soccer. The project integrates many sustainable design features and is following the International Green Construction Code (IgCC).