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Glen Ellyn Aquatics Initiative indoor pool study yields multimillion-dollar options for park district

Published: Friday, March 28, 2014 4:04 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, July 25, 2014 4:34 a.m. CDT
Caption
(Nathan Lurz - nlurz@shawmedia.com)
The image above shows the second of three plans discussed Wednesday for a potential addition to Ackerman Sports and Fitness Center.

GLEN ELLYN – After months of survey and study, the Glen Ellyn Aquatic Initiative believes it has the numbers to show a new indoor pool in the village would be a beneficial – and profitable – undertaking.

The volunteer organization hired consultant Isaac Sports Group to assess the feasibility of creating the indoor complex after raising more than $20,000 in donations to fund the study in July 2013.

Group President Stu Isaac presented the findings Wednesday to a crowd of more than 50 members of the public at the Main Street Recreation Center, and said the complex could serve as a beacon for Glen Ellyn.

Consultants showed three plans, all of which include an addition to the north side of Ackerman Sports and Fitness Center and are projected to cost several million dollars.

Isaac said an August 2012 survey showed households viewed adult fitness programs, swimming opportunities and learn-to-swim programs as top community parks and recreation needs.

Currently, the only Glen Ellyn Park District swimming facility is outdoor Sunset Pool, which is open during the summer months. Indoor swim options in Glen Ellyn, such as HealthTrack Sports Wellness and the B.R. Ryall YMCA, require memberships for general use.

By adding to Ackerman, he said, the district could offer a more well-rounded experience for patrons and provide space for the Glenbard swimming co-op, as well as the Gator swim team.

"If this is able to be done, you're going to get one chance in this generation, in this lifetime," Isaac said. "You've got to look ahead – what are you going to need in 30 years?"

Each plan includes two pools, one for activities such as swim team practices and scuba lessons and a smaller warm fitness and therapy pool.

The first of these would comprise a single-story facility that would add 22,551 square feet, as well as a classroom, offices and locker rooms. This plan could accomodate limited classes and swim meets.

The second would be a two-story, 36,459-square-foot addition, with seating for 400 spectators, a bulkhead to allow for flexibility and a concession area.

The third would total 53,472 square feet and offer facilities such as a rock wall, which could attract swimmers and bring economic activity to the village.

Estimates from Isaac indicate the complex could generate up to $1 million per year for the village if the district selected the second option and $4.5 million if it chose the third.

Issac's investment projections for the three plans were $7.3 million, $11.4 million and $16.1 million, respectively.

The complex would likely need to be funded at least partially by donations or a borrowing program, said district President Jay Kinzler.

"We don't have that kind of money sitting around in the bank," said Vice President Gary Mayo.

However, Isaac said a well-run aquatic center could be profitable.

He said cost estimates likely err high and include top-of-the-line filtration systems, staffing, maintenance and marketing.

Both the two larger options would be profitable, he said, with a projected surplus of $35,682 for the second option and $142,504 for the third. The first would also be in the black if the typical membership sales spike after such a project was taken into account.

"A lot of people have this perception that aquatic centers – pools – always run a deficit," Isaac said. "Well, poorly designed, poorly programmed, poorly managed pools run deficits."

Initiative President Rob Piper stressed none of the plans are final.

The district board will vote on accepting them in its overall strategic plan April 15.

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Plan 1

Size – 22,551 square feet Cost – $7.3 to $7.9 million

Main Pool • 25 yards by 67 feet • 2-by-1 meter diving boards • Seating for 200 spectators and 125 athletes

Teaching, fitness and therapy pool • 25-by-60 feet

Amenities – Classroom, staff offices, general locker rooms

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Plan 2

Size – 36,459 square feet (two stories) Cost – $11.4 to $12.4 million

Main Pool • 25 yards by 121 feet • 2-by-1-meter and 1-by-3-meter diving boards • 4-foot moveable bulkhead • Maximum depth of 13 feet • Seating for 400 to 500 spectators, 300 to 400 athletes

Teaching, fitness and therapy pool • 30 by 60 feet • Entrance ramp

Amenities – two classrooms, catering kitchen, staff offices, coach offices, lobby and concession area, larger locker rooms, basic weight training and fitness room

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Plan 3

Size – 54,152 square feet (two stories) Cost – $16.1 to $17.4 million

Main Pool

• 51 meters by 25 yards • 2-by-1-meter and 1-by-3-meter diving boards • 4-foot moveable bulkhead • Maximum depth of 13 feet • Seating for 600 to 700 spectators, 400 athletes

Teaching, fitness and therapy pool • 75-by-38 feet • Entrance ramp

Amenities – Same as plan two

Note to Readers: A version of this story containing an error previously ran in print and online. The name of the swim program at Glenbard South and West high schools is the Glenbard swimming co-op. The article has been corrected to reflect this information.

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