The Edmond Sun

February 11, 2013

VIDEO: Aquatics Center at halfway mark

Facility funded by EPS, YMCA, city

Patty Miller
The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — As the Edmond Recreation & Aquatics Center reaches more than halfway in completion, excitement is building. Ground was broken in April 2011 and 11 months later the facility is more than 50 percent finished.

The $22.5 million facility is being built next to the Multi-Activity Center in Mitch Park and is scheduled to be completed by September.

“The building was at 52 percent completion the first week in February,” said Bret Towne, Edmond School District’s associate director of general administration. “We are hoping for an opening by September 2013, but it may not be until Nov. 1.”

Edmond’s new 40,000 square foot aquatics center will contain a competitive pool primarily for the use of the high school teams, a leisure pool and a children’s area.

The remainder of the 500,000 square foot area will contain a full basketball court, rooms for classes and a child watch area.

The district plans to utilize the 50-meter competition pool for Edmond Public Schools high school swim training, practices, matches and meets, as well as scheduled use by special needs students and other aquatic and water safety educational purposes. There will also be locker rooms, offices and a concession area.

Along with the school district-funded eight-lane, 50-meter competitive pool and leisure pool, the plans for the center include a 1/20th of a mile running track on the second floor, exercise rooms, a full-size gym with bleachers, a cardiovascular workout room overlooking the competitive pool and 800 permanent seats and 300 pull-out seats that the Y will operate, Towne said.

“The schools will have the first right to schedule events in the competition area,” Towne said of the district’s $10 million investment. “Currently we have 150 to 200 students in the swim program and we are anticipating the program will grow.”

The City of Edmond, in the designated 2000 Capital Improvement Sales Tax Fund, held $6 million that was set aside to meet the citizens’ request for a second swimming facility.  

The City of Edmond contributed the land at Mitch Park next to the Multipurpose Activity Center and also will contribute the infrastructure such as an additional road and utilities.

Both the school and the city will contribute to the operation of the facility, which the YMCA will oversee as well as provide $6 million for the facilities cost.

On the YMCA side of the aquatics center, Roark said there will be a smaller five-lane pool, a vortex which is circular with jets pushing the water out creating a swirling effect where swimmers can walk or run against it or with the water. There will also be a area for children with a play dish, slides, buckets and water toys. One slide goes outside of the building and back in.

“We will keep the 39,000 square foot YMCA facility on Rankin open,” Roark said. “We have needed a 21st century facility that will fill the future needs of the community for some time.”

Funds for the school’s $10 million investment came in part from the October 2010 bond issue. The City of Edmond and the YMCA each brought $6 million to the project.

“We rely on bond issues to help us build facilities large enough for the influx of student enrollment,” Towne said. “As with the 2011 bond issue, the bond issue the district is asking residents to pass today, will not show any tax increase as we are retiring old debt.”

There was no bond election in 2012 and there is not another bond election scheduled until 2014.

This is the first time a YMCA, a school district and a city have joined together in a project in Oklahoma’s history, said President and CEO of the Greater Oklahoma City YMCA Mike Grady.