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November 21, 2013

Central pool plans unveiled

Vigo Schools asks for long-term lease agreement in order to build new aquatic center, parking area at Voorhees Park

TERRE HAUTE — The Terre Haute Park Board on Wednesday heard a presentation detailing the plan for the new Vigo County Schools Aquatic Center, which may be built at a southside city park.

Vigo County Schools Superintendent Dan Tanoos led the presentation and asked the board to consider a long-term lease agreement in order to build the new aquatic center — including a parking area — at Voorhees Park, located at 230 Voorhees St. in Terre Haute.

Representatives from Garmong Construction Services, the construction manager, and CSO Architects of Indianapolis, the designer of the new aquatic center, also spoke at the meeting, which was conducted at Torner Center in Deming Park.

Last month, the Vigo County School Board approved Voorhees Park as the site for the aquatics center, which will cost $9.8 million and is to be funded with a bond issue.

The center would replace aging pools at Terre Haute North Vigo High School, Terre Haute South Vigo High School and West Vigo High School.

According to the conceptual floor plan of the proposed aquatic center, a 50-meter pool by 25 yards wide would be housed in a 30,000-square-feet building. The pool would also include a diving area.

“Currently at North, South and West, there are 18 lanes for our students to swim in. [In] this new facility, there are 20 plus lanes that all three high schools can actually practice at the same time,” Tanoos said.

Project manager Lance Gassert of Garmong said the construction will take approximately 14 months. The plan is to break ground in June 2014.

The main public entrance to the center would open up to a 284 square-feet lobby area that then would lead to an elevated spectator seating area, which would have about 350 seats.

A 14-foot by 28-foot therapy pool would also be a feature inside the center, along with bathrooms, showers, concessions, storage, offices and boys team lockers and girls team lockers for teams at the three schools that would be using the facility.

Outside the center, a new park entrance along Prairieton Road is also planned as is a “boulevard drive” that would circle in front of the aquatic center and lead to two parking areas, which would accommodate approximately 75 cars each, said James Funk of CSO Architects.

“We want it to have a nice grand entrance,” said Mayor Duke Bennett, who also attended the meeting.

The parking lots would serve the whole park, Bennett said.

The “Updated Voorhees Park Master Plan with Aquatic Center” also shows the future expansion of the existing skate park, a major attraction of the park to skateboarders.

Park board member Nancy Cummins asked Tanoos if the facility would be open to the public. Tanoos said the public might be able to use the aquatic center on Saturday afternoons and Sundays.

The center also would have security personnel, just as do local schools, Tanoos said, and the park would continue to be open to the public even during swim events.

Park board member Gordon Bryan asked if it is possible to include bathrooms that could be available to others using the park. Tanoos said there are some “options we can look at” and will report back to the board on that.

The next step is a lease agreement between the two parties.

The aquatic center would add “vibrancy” to the area of Voorhees Park, Tanoos said, and plans for the center to become a “destination” would leave a good impression for all who visit.

“We want people to come back to Vigo County for our swim activities,” Tanoos said.

Tribune-Star Reporter Dianne Frances D. Powell can be reached at 812-231-4299 or dianne.powell@tribstar.com.

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