District working with YMCA to open aquatic center
SNOHOMISH - The Snohomish School District’s aquatic center is nearing completion and approaching the January 2014 opening date with the help of the YMCA of Snohomish County.
“We’re going to get it up and running,” Mill Creek YMCA executive director Kyla Smith said last week. “They’re building this amazing aquatic center and they’ve asked for some of the Y’s expertise to put the systems in place, research the community to determine the right program mix and to work with the different community organizations, swim teams and dive teams to determine what this aquatic center will look like and what the schedule will look like.”
Smith said the YMCA is considering submitting a proposal to run the aquatic center. If the school district accepts the proposal, the facility will remain a community pool and not a YMCA pool.
“The intention is not for this to be a YMCA,” Smith said. “This is a true community center for the school district swimmers, for the dive teams, for the kids and will be fully open and available to the community. If the Y were to operate it, it would look very different than the Y’s structure, membership and fees.”
The aquatic center will have three pools, including a competition-size pool with 10 lanes, bleachers and areas for up to 420 spectators, a warm-water therapy area, a FlowRider surf simulation machine, a lazy river and a water slide. The center also will have locker rooms and changing areas.
The Snohomish School Board toured the center earlier this month.
Board member David Johnston said the pool is an “impressive facility.”
“We’ve got swim teams that have not had a home for some time and that’s our primary objective is for the kids to have a place to compete,” Johnston said. “But there are also a lot of community benefits too. You’ve got a recreational facility that’s first class, which is a real jewel for the community. And it’s potentially an economic driver for the city, too.”
Snohomish School District swim teams have been practicing at a Gold’s Gym pool in Woodinville for the past four or five years, district spokeswoman Kristin Foley said.
The aquatic center, which has been under construction since last June, will offer swim classes and other programs to help generate revenue for the facility.
Smith said the YMCA is helping the district hire a facility director.
“We’re currently in that selection process right now,” Smith said.
The school district will know by the end of the summer who will be in charge of running the facility and who will be facility director, Smith said.
The aquatic center’s $21.3 million price tag was part of the $261 million bond passed by voters in 2008.
An important cost-saving measure for the project was the city’s offer to pay the facility’s water bill.
“As we work to finish construction on our district’s aquatic center, I’m excited about our collaboration with the YMCA of Snohomish County,” Snohomish School District Superintendent Bill Mester said earlier this month. “This partnership will help strengthen our relationship with the Snohomish community to provide recreational and competitive aquatic opportunities for all.”
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