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MPAC reveals new aquatic center design

During Friday night’s MPAC (McKinley Park Aquatic Center) fundraiser “Dive Right In To Some Fun!” the design plans were revealed for what the MPAC planning committee hopes will be an aquatic center “that our community can be proud of.”

The event served as a kick-off point from which the committee’s capital campaign will begin.

According to the committee’s website, www.thempac.org., “The plan focuses on renovating and expanding the existing Creston Pool, to create an Aquatic Center inclusive to all populations of our community.”

The capital campaign, which aims at raising almost $5.5 million in total, is anticipated to last about three years. An endowment for the aquatic center is also planned to help fund future operation costs and maintenance for the pool.

“We had a fantastic turnout (for the fundraiser),” said Samantha Baird of the MPAC committee. “The event was sold out. The atmosphere was electric, everyone was excited for the evening and to learn about the MPAC plans. I would say that it went better than the MPAC team even expected.”

Baird said feedback on the proposed designs has been very positive so far. More than $10,000 was raised during the event in total.

Mindy Stalker, also a member of the MPAC committee, said she was also very pleased with the response from the audience during the event. She also said the large reveal board that was unveiled during the event, that features the aquatic center design plans, will be on display at various businesses throughout the fundraiser. It is currently viewable at Stalker Chevrolet. 

The design

The design plan prepared by Waters Edge Aquatic Design utilizes the existing pool structures, most of which will be renovated, and features a variety of totally new ones.

A zero-depth entry, toddler cove and an additional plunge and play zone as well as a large current channel will be added to the existing basin. New tall slides would be added to the plunge and play zone, and the existing slide would be removed to allow for a large water bench with easy entry stairs into the existing lap pool.

The existing diving area would be reworked to include 1 and 3 meter diving spaces, a rockscape, a climbing wall and a long, enclosed drop slide. 

With the renovation of the existing pools, the current bathhouse would be saved and renovated as well. The entry area would be relocated from the center of the building to the side near the new inclusive play area, allowing families to enter MPAC together. The concession area would also be near the inclusive play area and the park restrooms.

Landscaping and grass deck areas surround and break up the concrete pool decks.

The cost

The MPAC committee intends to raise enough money during the capital campaign to fund an endowment (about an extra $1 million), on top of its $4,432,801 project cost estimate.

The endowment will be used to cover any costs the new facility incurs in excess of the current pool expenditures. The committee believes the funds from the endowment, in conjunction with increased revenue from the aquatic center, would adequately cover the increase in operations and maintenance costs for the city.

According to the MPAC committee, the current pool operates at a $38,637 deficit, with a 53 percent cost recovery. The goal for the new MPAC facility would be for the cost recovery to exceed current standards and meet a 75 to 80 percent mark.

The committee expects revenues for the new aquatic center to be greatly increased, as result of more funds generated from concessions, swim lessons, fitness classes and of course attendance fees.

If the revenues generated by the new facility are close to what the committee projects, the city’s overall cost to operate and maintain the pool would not increase. In addition, the funds from a $1 million endowment could potentially produce up to $50,000 in income annually to be used to maintain and operate the pool.

This would allow the endowment funds to cover any deficit the city would have in operating and maintaining a larger facility, as well as provide a means to continually update and improve MPAC.

“We are planning our next events,” Baird said of the MPAC committee’s future plans. “We don’t have any dates set yet, but we are planning some fun activities over the summer including a splash contest at the Creston pool.

“We know we have a lot of work to do and a lot of money to raise, but we are committed to our vision and absolutely believe that we can make the MPAC a reality,” Baird added. “It will take the entire community’s support to get this project accomplished, but we know we can do it.”

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