The Lake Edward community had been seeking a community recreation center for almost 30 years but space and opportunity had not been available. Meanwhile to the east down Newtown Road, the Williams family continued their farming operations on 55 acres of land directly across Newtown Road from Bayside Middle School. In 2004 the Williams family elected to sell their farm to the City of Virginia Beach provided the land would be used for either parks or schools. WPL provided master planning services for a bold new place called Williams Farm Park. Included in this park would be a new elementary school, interconnecting systems of infrastructure to link the new school with two existing elementary schools, a park of extensive open space, and a brand new community recreation center all tied together into a predominantly pedestrian campus.
The new community recreation center was given the name “Western Bayside Community Center” during its infancy and now is referred to as the “Williams Farm Recreation Center”. An adjunct facility was added to the building program and brought with it one more exciting dimension to this unique campus. Producer, singer-songwriter, and skateboarder Pharrell Williams, originally from Virginia Beach, had been searching for space and opportunity to construct a music/technology/learning center for city youth. The Williams Farm Community Center was not only the perfect opportunity for Mr. Williams, it provided adequate space for the learning center and a small skate park. WPL worked closely with the Virginia Beach based Architectural firm of HBA Architects and various City agencies throughout the three to four year planning and design process for the bridging documents phase of the project. WPL provided land surveying, master planning, 35% level site design and landscape design for the bridging documents submittal. In addition, WPL has participated in design charrettes and workshops for the Williams Farm Community Center including the outline of design-build criteria, and presenting plans and ideas for public input.