A five-year effort by a group of Reston citizens who decided to tax themselves for a community center that could not otherwise have been built will culminate next year with the opening of a $2.6-million facility.

The planned Reston Area Community Center, to be located at Hunter Woods Village Center, will be an elaborate meeting, concert and recreaton facility featuring a 274-seat theater and a 25-meter indoor swimming pool. The planned opening date is December 1978.

James V. Allred, chairman of the community center's governing board, called the project "an absolutely classic effort of communtiy involvement." Citizens initiated the project, voted by better than a 2-to-1 margin to tax themselves to pay it, and guided architects in designing it.

Last week, Fairfax County sold the bonds to finance the project. Bids went out last month, and Allred said construction would begin in September. When completed in late 1978, the center will serve more than 35,000 people in Reston and its immediately surrounding area.

Allred said the community center is designed to be used for all types of recreational and cultural activities. In addition to the theater and pool, it will include an 8,000-square-foot community hall, meeting rooms, game, hobby, craft and dark rooms, and a kitchen and dining space.

More than 60 community groups will use the meeting rooms, and groups such as the Reston Players, the Reston shorale and other music and theater groups will use the theater for their concerts and performances, Allred said. He said these groups have had no similar facility in Reston.

The community center project began in 1972 as an idea of a group of citizens connected to the Reston Homeowners Assn. A citizen task force spun off from the association recommended forming a special taxing district to finance a community center.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors approved the special taxing district in early 1975, and in June of that year voters of Reston and the immediately surrounding area approved by a 70 per cent margin a 4-mill property tax to finance the center. A court challenge by several homeowners outside of Reston but within the taxing district was resolved in favor of the tax.

Allred said citizens helped design the center in approximately a dozen public design meetings where architects drew designs in response to suggestions from citizens. The final design by two Reston architects, Jansons and Roberts, was completed in May of this year.