Tuesday, September 23, 2003

Work on aquatic center begins

YMCA to have pools, slide

By Angela T. Koenig
Enquirer contributor

WESTWOOD - After nearly two years of fund raising, officials will break ground today on a $1.7 million outdoor aquatic center at the Gamble-Nippert YMCA.

The new design includes a heated, Olympic-size, 50-meter pool, a wading pool, a kids spray area and a 15-foot water slide.

Capital campaign committee member Dillon Rhodenbaugh said that he and his wife, Bev, brought their eight children through swimming programs offered at the Gamble-Nippert Y.

"So it's a tradition here on the west side that we have good facilities for swimming," he said.

The impetus to install the new aquatic center, officials said, was also born out of necessity. A slow leak deep under the pool meant constantly adding water, said Robin Chambers, Gamble-Nippert's executive director.

Chambers said without refilling, the pool would completely drain in 28 days.

"We're just very thankful that we're going to get a new pool" to serve Gamble-Nippert's 7,400 children, adult and senior membership base and nonmembers who participate in Y-sponsored aquatic programs, she said.

Rhodenbaugh said that while many contributed to the capital campaign fund, a handful of donors contributed sums large enough to fund the bulk of the project.

"We had a community-wide endeavor and several anonymous donors came forward, in excess of $1 million," he said.

"In these difficult economic times it was a daunting task - but we made it."

The aquatic center is scheduled to open the second week of May 2004.

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