ECCL Fitness Passport: Family Fitness & Recreation on a Budget!

4 mins read

With Summer upon us, now is the perfect time to scout out your family’s summertime swimming hole and plan a fitness regiment the whole family can afford. The value of the Emeryville Center of Community Life (ECCL) Aquatic and Fitness Centers is unbeatable with amenities including a pool, fitness center, gymnasium and dance studio. Let’s uncover the facilities and programs make up one of Emeryville’s best kept secrets.

ECCL Brief History

The ECCL was built in the footprint of Emery High School and opened its new doors to the public nearly two years ago. Brad Helfenberger, the City of Emeryville’s Youth & Adult Services Manager says that although it is still not universally known in the community, they are steadily seeing an increase in participation. “We get about 300-500 people a month that come in, and on a daily basis we see 10-20 regulars. Our program is still growing.”

ECCL Aquatic Center

Let’s start the written tour with the swimming pool that varies from about 3-1/2 to 8 feet deep. ECCL Aquatic Center hosts a plethora of swimming programs including lap swim (ages 14+), aqua aerobics, parent/child swim (age under 3), tiny tot swim (ages 3-5), learn to swim (ages 6-17), adult lessons (ages 18+), and private lessons (any age). You can find the hours for each posted on the Aquatics Programs website.

The pool has a maximum capacity of 170 people, and there is always one lifeguard on duty for every 25 people in the water. “During the summer we have an aquatic intern program which is basically like a junior lifeguarding program,” explains Helfenberger, “They come out and learn how to be lifeguards, they learn how to be swim instructors, and the great thing is that it ends up becoming a feeder system for our staff… and we get better quality staff!”

If your kid is ready to take swimming to the next level, there’s a youth swim team piloting this summer – Emeryville Swim Team! Children ages 6-16 can sign up from 10-11am on Tuesdays and Thursdays from June 25th to August 16th for a fee of $100 for residents and $105 for non-residents. That’s 16 practices bringing the price of each practice to a mere $6.25 for residents!

Bring the whole family on July 20th at 6:30pm for the second annual Dive-In Movie featuring Disney’s The Little Mermaid.

The Center also offers private or group swim lessons for children and adults. Whether you are considering signing up your kid for a lesson, or you want to try out a new form of exercise – you should do it for the fun, fitness and friendships. Swimming is largely considered the best workout due to its many benefits, Frequent swimming can lower your blood pressure, improve your respiratory muscle strength and posture, and prevent back injuries. When biking or running, pressure can burden your bones and muscles, and the workout focuses mainly on your lower body. In the water, the burden of gravity is somewhat removed from the equation making it a much lower-impact aerobic workout. Plus, your body is equally distributed in the water, your workout is not only hitting your legs, but your arms, back, and core.

The ECCL is available to rent to outside groups, which currently includes youth swim teams, triathlon groups, and masters swimming. The pool and barbecue area can be rented by the public for private parties as well!

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We’ve found two minor drawbacks with the ECCL Aquatic Center – the first being the inconsistent hours. Because their hours are narrow windows of time, it can be hard to keep track of when they are open or closed to the public. Before heading over, we recommend double-checking the website or calling

The second is a hindrance only for lap swimmers. Because there are not sign-ups for a lane ahead of time, the occupancy is unpredictable. You may experience one of two extremes – the pool is entirely empty or jam-packed. The pool is sometimes divided for lap swim and aqua aerobics, for example, and the staff does its best to allocate more lanes to the more popular program at that moment.

The convenience and inexpensive cost make the specific schedule and unpredictable occupancy well worth it.

ECCL Fitness Center

If swimming isn’t for you, the Fitness Passport also grants you access to the ECCL Fitness Center where you have access to a wide array of cardio and weight equipment.

There’s also a Senior Fitness Training Program held in the weight room from 10am-1pm M-F. The ECCL has a staff member on hand to help instruct Seniors on how to properly use the equipment.

ECCL Dance Studio & Gym

The ECCL gym doubles as a dance studio and offers classes including Aikido (self-defense martial art), Zumba, and Yoga. The gymnasium for open gym or pick-up basketball, volleyball, and futsal (indoor soccer).

Check out the Summer Activity Guide embedded below for the more information

ECCL Track & Field

For a free workout, make your way over to the ECCL Track and Field. The gates to the artificial turf field are programmed to automatically unlock when it opens to the public each day. You have access to a track as well as a combination field for softball, baseball, football, and soccer. The playgrounds are also free and open to the public!

Track public hours:

M-F: 6:45-7:45 am and 7pm-10pm.
Sat/Sun: 8am-8pm.

ECCL Fitness Passport Hours & Rates

Here is all the information you need to start sweating!


ECCL Building E, 1170 47th Street. Emeryville, CA 94608.
Fitness Center front desk: 510-596-4385.
Main line: 510-596-4395.

Fitness Center Hours of Operation:

M-F: 5:00 am – 8:00 am
MWF: 11:00 am- 2:00 pm
M-Th: .5:00 pm- 11:00 pm
Sat & Sun: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

ECCL Fitness Passport Fees (New prices effective August 20th):

Drop in: $6 Resident, $7 Non-Resident, $3 Youth/Senior (50+)
10-day pass: $41 Resident, $47 Resident, $20 Youth/Senior (50+)
Season Pass*: $114 Resident, $145 Non-Resident, $57 Youth/Senior (50+)

*Prices subject to change. Valid for 4 months from the day of purchase.

Residency can be validated through a driver’s license or utility bill with your address on it. The pass is non-transferrable, and valid for four months from the purchase date and includes access to the swimming pool, fitness center, dance studio and gymnasium.

Emeryville’s latest Activity Guide can be downloaded here and you can register online for some activities at Active.com.

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Kerry Gluchowski

grew up in the East Bay, leaving only for college in Santa Barbara. She and her husband moved to Emeryville in 2013, eventually into her Great Grandmother’s condo in Pacific Park Plaza. Kerry is a trail runner, road cyclist, open water swimmer, and avid reader. She has a healthy obsession with her Chiweenie, Pickle McParty. (Instagram: @yellowfordays)


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