After San Francisco’s 2012 Olympics bid failed in 2002 and dashed plans to build an Olympic training center in Oakland, Oakland leaders moved ahead on their own plans to build a sports center to replace an outdated facility near a low-income neighborhood. City leaders wanted a destination venue with a variety of fitness and recreation options accessible to nearby residents.

Oakland contracted with Berkeley, Calif.-based ELS Architecture and Urban Design to create the East Oakland Sports Center, a 25,000-square-foot facility that opened in June 2011. Located in William Patterson Park, the building includes a natatorium, a dance and aerobics studio, a fitness center, locker rooms, and a learning/media center. Future phases will add a two-court gymnasium with a suspended running track, a competition pool, and soccer and baseball fields.

Designed to meet the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED Silver specifications, the venue features abundant natural light, thermal solar panels to heat the pool water, bioswales for stormwater runoff, high-efficiency mechanical systems, and recycled building materials. The $20 million project is funded by Oakland’s Measure DD bonds, Oakland Redevelopment Agency funds, a state grant and East Bay Regional Parks Measure WW.