HUNTSVILLE, Ala. – The Huntsville Aquatics Center opened Thursday with a splash.
The $22 million newly renovated facility is 90,000 square feet, praised as a state-of-the art facility, and has three pools are under one roof. Construction took 15 months and the project came in under-budget and on-schedule.
It includes three large pools, two being Olympic size, restrooms, a conference and hospitality space, office space and concessions. A terrace overlooks the Brahan Spring Park lagoon.
Before Thursday’s scheduled open house, Mayor Tommy Battle invited the Huntsville Swim Association to “dive-in” instead of holding a traditional ribbon-cutting.
“It is like no other in the Southeast. It will bring competitions here from all over the United States. It will be a great thing because it brings people in, they get to see our community, they spend money in our community. It’s great for travel and tourism,” said Huntsville’s mayor, Tommy Battle.
“It’s fabulous,” said Beth Wilder, a swim parent and volunteer. “You can see a lot of thought went into this.
Battle said it was important for this pool to be open before the 52nd Annual Rocket City Swim League City Swim Meet, which is happening this weekend.
"It is a huge event," he commented. "Our whole construction crew and staff pushed that effort through. They all knew this was the deadline for the city swim meet."
The spectator capacity at this pool, 1403, is more than the city has ever had. This space is hailed as the largest spectator seating capacity for a swimming facility.
With an added, cool bonus: "You also have air conditioning, which is big if you're a parent!" Battle exclaimed.
The center's Legacy pool is being renovated as Phase 2 of the project. The instructional pool already opened earlier this year. That pool also provides warm-water therapy and a handicapped access ramp into the water, to replace the therapy pool at the Jim Williams Aquatic Center.
Huntsville and Madison County's swim community is popular, and growing. Battle said this is an asset to them, and any others who can use the space.
"Now it is spreading more and more. At 5 AM there will be a lot of people in here swimming laps," said Battle. "It adds a lot to quality of life."