What is Westwood 2020?
Westwood 2020 is a strategic renovation plan, currently in the second phase of implementation, led by our Board of Directors. This initiative seeks to propose what Westwood Club may look like over the next few years- or by the year 2020. We are looking to perform major renovations focusing on three key areas of our Club: the youth and kids’ club areas, the pool and outdoor spaces, as well as the restaurant and main bar. This plan was initially proposed as one large full scale project, however feedback led to the decision of a phased approach. The first phase of the project was completed in early 2018. Construction for phase II begins in September 2019.
Every aspect of Westwood 2020 has been tactically derived from extensive research of our own Club (including direct member response, annual survey results, anecdotal feedback, staff observations, etc.), examination of local and industry trends, as well as the anticipated future needs of our ever-evolving membership. We have conducted a great deal of research to date and engaged a team of experts to help guide our way as we create this concept for the future or our club- a perfect 20/20 vision for Westwood.
As we navigate our way along this journey, we will continue to create avenues for our members to provide feedback, ask questions and share ideas. This is our Club and it is imperative to our process that we have an engaged membership as we, together, “bring our future into focus.”
How did we create Westwood 2020?
We did this by conducting extensive internal and external research.
This process officially began in 2013, when the time had come to renew the Club’s strategic plan. Our bylaws require us to do so, although several years of economic uncertainty had delayed the renewal of our last plan. Financial stability had returned to the Club, our membership had seen multiple years of steady growth and our new management team was positively received. Our Board and various committees felt we were ready to reengage in the strategic planning process.
We began by exploring the physical footprint of our Club and examining what areas were up to par. We analyzed multiple years of survey responses and member usage data. We also studied our membership: monitored the growth rate, the demographic makeup, the residential locations and the type of membership category. Initial findings began to show us how we had changed, where we excelled, and where we could improve.
Our next step was to form several small focus groups/committees tasked with gathering anecdotal feedback, reviewing our findings to date, and conducting even more research. Multiple trends emerged as we continued our process.
Next we looked outside of our Club. We looked at other facilities, both in and out of the Richmond area. We compared ourselves to local private clubs as well as other establishments such as local gyms, restaurants, community pools, tennis facilities, etc. Looking outside of the Richmond area, using industry tools such as Club Benchmarking, we were able to compare our Club to other clubs across the country. We saw exactly how we compared to clubs of our size anywhere in the US. Through this portion of our research we could see directly how we compared point by point.
Over the past two decades Westwood has completed many significant capital improvement projects. From facility maintenance updates such as replacing HVAC systems to physical enhancements like installing new court lights to aesthetic improvements and renovations, our physical plant has continued to evolve just as our membership has done so. In 2001, the footprint of the Club doubled with the addition of the new building and three indoor courts (E, F & G). When developing a plan for the future of our Club, it was important to take inventory of all that had been done.
This led us to create two catalogs of our top needs. One was composed of our needs based upon our internal research and the other based upon our external research. We compared both catalogs and found that many items were prevalent on both. From there we prioritized the items based upon what we determined to pose the greatest benefit to the greatest amount of our membership.
Exactly what are we looking at changing?
Based upon our research, we have determined three overall areas of focus: (1) the youth and kids’ club areas, (2) the pool and outdoor spaces, as well as (3) the restaurant and main bar. All of our plans are based upon the premise of maintaining our current physical footprint. We will not be acquiring additional land.
The youth and kids’ club section of this project sought to expand the size of our kids’ club and convert the upper squash area into a multipurpose room. Expanding our kids’ club allowed us to create separate areas of care for our younger and older children while increasing the number of children we can safely accommodate. The upper squash room has been used for supervised youth activities, camps and special events. Converting this underutilized space still allows for squash play to occur uninterrupted while leaving our youth room open for its intended use.
Our outdoor and pool section of the project will upgrade our “backyard” bringing our outdoor facilities up to modern standards. Our pool has been virtually untouched since installation back in the 1960s and does not appropriately provide space for all of our different member factions. The outdoor plan provides more separated spaces for our members, from young children to our adult members, a sport court for mixed recreational use, improved walkways and court viewing, upgraded outdoor dining and additional restrooms within the new family pool area.
The restaurant and bar renovation will upgrade our interior dining bringing a fresher look and increased function. Every year the look and feel of our restaurant and bar takes quite a hit on our survey. While smaller cosmetic upgrades have certainly helped, we continue to have comments such as “airport bar” or “retirement home”. It is our hope to create a more contemporary atmosphere with multi-functional abilities. We want to create spaces that are comfortable for family dining, tennis viewing or bar traffic, card players, as well as professional meetings and special occasions. We want our restaurant and bar to be a place our members want to be.
Who benefits from Westwood 2020? How does this plan benefit me?
Completing this project significantly improves the overall physical health and financial vitality of the Club. Accomplishing this vision allows the Club to both meet and keep up with the needs of our current membership while preparing for the continued evolution of our future members. Furthermore, 100% of our membership receives direct benefit from one, if not all aspects, of Westwood 2020. We strongly believe that the execution of Westwood 2020 will greatly enhance the member experience for everyone in the Westwood community. This project does not simply represent a new pool or a new dining room. This is an investment in Westwood’s future.
What has been accomplished to date?
We initially started with our outdoor project as we had the most member direction and input on that subject. We first contracted landscape architect Doug Aurand of SiskaAurand to create concept drawings for us. He created multiple possible approaches- some with all the bells and whistles and some that are more pragmatic. We had a positive response with some suggested alterations to the initial proposals. Over the next few years we would continue to research and seek proposals from multiple architects but ultimately returned to Doug Aurand in 2018 to develop a firm outdoor renovation plan.
We continued looking deeper into our current want and needs as a club, identifying ways to improve our spaces while maintaining our current physical footprint. We determined before we could proceed any further we needed to hold a town hall meeting to get more input from the membership. It took three tries but the final charm gathered about 60 members together to hear about what we have done to date and learn their thoughts on the proposed venture. Despite a smaller turnout at town hall, an email blast sharing the presentation spurred a lot of conversation throughout the Club and we ended up receiving a lot of responses from members. We asked for a consensus of support in moving forward with our research and the responding members gave us that.
To help us proceed with our vision we have added to our team of experts. Architect Jim Irby (also a long time Westwood member) developed our upper squash conversion plan as part of phase I. We hired Glavé & Holmes Architecture to envision possible concepts for our restaurant and kids’ club projects. Doug Aurand returned to tackle the outdoor renovation. Every one of our team members are experts in their respective fields and are sure to bring our perfect 20/20 vision into focus.
As each area of research progressed, we repeatedly sought input from the membership. We spoke with our committees, conducted member-wide surveys and hosted multiple focus groups and larger town halls in order to gather as much feedback and input as possible. In order to develop and implement changes to the club that host a significant impact on the member experience, it is of the highest importance to have our members contribute to the each projects plan.
In November of 2015, the Board unanimously, and very deliberately, adopted two measures: First, they adopted the (renamed) Westwood 2020 Strategic Renovation Plan (WW2020) in its entirety, as the near- and medium-term road map for upgrading the Club’s facilities. Secondly, they committed (financially) to execute phase I of WW2020, with phases II and III being tasked to future boards to fully develop and fund. Phase I began in the spring of 2016 and was completed in early 2018.
In the summer of 2018 the focus returned to phase II the outdoor renovation. We re-engaged with Doug Aurand for the overall concept, conducted site surveys and contracted a civil engineer to help develop the plan in it’s entirety. In April 2019, the club submitted a full proposal to the County for approval and hired owners’ representative, Katie Chernau. The project was then sent out to bid with the final contractor being selected in August 2019. Construction will begin for phase II in late September 2019 with an anticipated opening date of May 2020.
How much will this cost?
Phase I cost roughly $615,000, and accomplished the following:
- Built restrooms adjacent to the pool bar. The pool bar has seen tremendous activity and enthusiasm since its renovation several years ago, which has brought great focus to the age-old member desire for convenient restrooms. COMPLETED.
- Retrofit LED lighting to outdoor courts 3-6, and installed new LED lighting to courts 7-10. This addressed another age-old member frustration relating to the quality of our outdoor lighting, and allow us to hold nighttime USTA league matches, further solidifying our position as the #1 tennis Club in Central Virginia. COURTS 3 – 6 COMPLETED; COURTS 7 – 10 COMPLETED.
- We fully rounded out our youth program facilities including:
- Modernized our youth room with new technology, entertainment options, games and furnishings. COMPLETED.
- Renovated the squash/racquetball ground floor & mezzanine areas. The mezzanine has retractable paneling which enclosed the viewing rails, allowing the space to be used for youth & banquet events without interfering with squash & racquetball play. This newly created venue has seen high utilization with our youth programs, and as banquet event space. Aesthetically, it will also addressed an area of the Club much in need of improvement. COMPLETED.
- Roughly doubled the footprint of our kids’ club, addressing an immediate capacity issue and providing space for many years to come. There are economic efficiencies here, as we are able to separate the 0-4yr olds from the 5-8yr olds, allowing us to optimize staff resources, actually improve our compliance with local child supervision regulations, and provide a better member experience. COMPLETED.
Phase II has a cost not to exceed $3,000,000 and will accomplish the following:
- The construction of two, brand new separate pools. These new features will create spaces for all our members to enjoy. A new 8-lane lap pool will accommodate swimmers of all ages and interests, from water sliders to loungers to lap swimmers, while the new family pool will delight and entertain children
- Adding new dining areas at both our Westwood Grill (formally known as the snack shop) and at out pool bar. The new, expanded dining area at the pool bar is 2500 sq/ft and features new fire pits, fireplace, furniture and stone pavers.
- A new sport court/pickleball court and new playground for additional outdoor play
- All new tennis viewing gazebos and elevated platform.
- New landscaping, hardscaping, and fixtures throughout.