Aquatic Center Groundbreaking Set for Jan. 22

Post Date:01/12/2007
Area swimmers are encouraged to take a rest interval from their workouts at noon on Monday, Jan. 22, to join community leaders in breaking ground on the Aquatic Center planned for Homestead Community Park on Northern Park Drive off Homestead Road.

The public is encouraged to attend the ceremony, which will be led by Chapel Hill Mayor Kevin Foy, Orange County Commission Chair Moses Carey Jr., and the Town of Chapel Hill Parks and Recreation Commission Chair Terry Blalock. Free prizes — including free passes to the new Aquatic Center will be offered, as well as refreshments. The event will be held rain or shine, and towels will be available if it rains.

Plans for the center come from years of community conversation over the need for additional public swimming facilities as outlined in a 2002 Parks and Recreation Master Plan. The $5.5 million project will be funded from Chapel Hill bonds totaling $1.2 million approved by voters in 1996 and Orange County bonds totaling $4.3 million approved in 1997 and 2001. An additional $750,000 will be borrowed in 2007.

The 27,400 square foot center will feature two pools, locker rooms, bleachers, a reception area, office space and public art. There will be a larger pool for swimming team practices and lap swimmers; and a warm-water teaching pool for families and non-competitive swimmers. The larger pool will measure 25 yards by 25 meters with a depth ranging from 4-1/2 to 6 feet. The smaller pool will measure 25 yards by 10 yards with a depth of up to 4 feet.

The center will be built in the northwest corner of the 40-acre park near the existing basketball court, skate park, and batting cage. Landscaping will include a plan to protect existing trees and required buffers. A stormwater detention pond and a bio-retention are planned to manage the quantity and quality of stormwater runoff on the site.

The public art planned for the center will be created by artist Ray King. The main lobby floor will be transformed into a luminous mosaic promenade with more than 2,000 light-responsive, laminated, dichroic glass elements. The glass will appear to emanate from a source within the ground and create a magical feeling of walking on light. The $55,000 art project is funded in part through the Town of Chapel Hill’s Percent for Art Ordinance, which allocates 1 percent of selected capital projects for public art.

Chapel Hill currently has one public indoor swimming pool at the Chapel Hill Community Center and one public outdoor pool at the Hargraves Community Center. The Community Center closed this month for yearlong renovations which will include work to the swimming pool. Construction of the Aquatics Center is scheduled to begin in February 2007 with an anticipated completion date of August 2008. Resolute Building Co. was selected as the contractor for the project in a competitive bidding process.

For more information on the project or the groundbreaking ceremony, please call 968-2784.
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