VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – In 1977, “A New Hope” hit the screens and Star Wars took the hearts of the new generation. Coincidentally, that same year Virginia Beach opened its Kempsville Community Rec Center. Now as the film company that brought you wookies and lightsabers plans to birth another series, the city with internationally renowned sandcastles will close the doors of its oldest community center to start demolitions for a new building.
The comparisons between the intergalactic story and the place local residents come to lift, run and swim stop there. But similar to the staple in the American movie canon, people will have to wait a couple of years before returning to 800 Monmouth Lane. City officials said a more modern recreation center will take the old one’s place. The memories shared by locals on the building’s graffiti walls will be captured by a photographer and be available online.
Kempsville Rec Center will close Feb. 20 and demolition is scheduled for spring with construction expected to begin in July. The new, almost 80,000-square-foot building will reopen in early 2017. It will have an indoor pool, walking track, double gymnasium and five multipurpose rooms. You can check out concept and floor plans here. City Council has said the project will cost about $32 million.