SAN ANTONIO, Texas, November 16. NORTHSIDE Independent School District in San Antonio, Texas is poised to become a nationally-renowned destination for swimming competitions.
The district's Board of Trustees recently approved the design for a 50-meter, Olympic-size outdoor swim stadium and a 25-meter diving/warm-up pool. Both swimming pools will be built adjacent to the existing Northside Natatorium, creating a mega swim center that will be the only one of its kind in the central United States. Currently, similar facilities exist only in California and Florida.
Architect's renderings of the national swim center can be viewed on the Northside ISD website.
Construction on the two new pools is expected to begin in northwest San Antonio by May 2011 and be completed by the summer of 2013, said Vernon Dunagin, Northside ISD Assistant Superintendent for Facilities & Operations.
The development of the national swim center is the result of a unique partnership between Northside ISD and Bexar County. In May 2008, Bexar County voters approved a tax referendum to provide $7 million in funding, and in May 2010, NISD voters approved a bond issue to fund a matching $7 million.
The swim center will attract major regional and national swim competitions, which in turn will draw thousands of athletes, coaches and their families to San Antonio. These visitors will rent cars, stay in hotels, shop, and dine in restaurants, making a multi-million dollar impact on San Antonio's economy annually, according to the Bexar County Athletic Facilities Committee.
According to USA Swimming, the Northside Swim Center can expect to host five large regional and national meets per year.
The majority of the time, when the center isn't being used for a competition, it will be used by the NISD Aquatics program, which is desperately in need of additional pool space.
"This partnership is truly a win-win," NISD Superintendent John Folks said. "It gives San Antonio a swimming venue that will be a boon to our economy, and it allows NISD's aquatics program to keep pace with growth."
The outdoor swim center will feature shaded seating for 2,400 spectators as well as high-tech timing, lighting, sound and video scoreboard systems. Locker room facilities will accommodate as many as 1,200 athletes.
The facility will meet both international and national standards set by USA
Scott Zolinksi, NISD's Director of Aquatics, said the outdoor swim center will be heated and will serve as a year-round training site for four of the district's high schools. The District will study the feasibility of using solar power to heat the pools.
Northside ISD is the fourth largest school district in Texas with an enrollment of almost 95,000 students and more than 100 schools.
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