NEWS & VIEWS OF PHILLIPS SINCE 1976
Thursday June 22nd 2017

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Phillips Aquatic Center: Signed, Sealed…

BY DENNY BENNETT

In early 2018, I will be able to finish that headline, but come on, be honest, how many of you never thought we would get to this point? Folks, this facility is 100%, officially being built, with the ground-breaking ceremony to occur after the new year. Go ahead and ask for a new swimsuit for your birthday this year!

At this point, more than $1,000,000 has already been spent on planning, design, permits, engineering and compliance. In November, the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board (MPRB) approved a contract with Morcon Construction Company, Inc. for $5,644,000 to do the following:

  • Renovation of the existing 6-lane pool and spectator area;
  • Addition of a 4-lane teaching pool with associated family lockers rooms, a community room, public restrooms, staff support areas, a new check in desk dedicated to aquatics;
  • Entrance canopy and signage;
  • Site work including an expanded parking lot, storm water best-management practices, parking lot reconfigurations, and landscaping.

As the project went out for bid, there were a couple of pieces that, due to budgetary constraints, ended up being bid as separate components and were not included in the final funding:

  • Remodeling of the existing boys and girls locker rooms;
  • Relocation and expansion of the fitness center adjacent to the aquatics facilities; and
  • Relocation of the teen center to an area near the front entry to the building.

The cost to complete the optional work on the locker rooms is $162,000 and the cost to build the new fitness center and relocate the teen center is $116,000. Minneapolis Swims is actively seeking donors who might be interested in helping complete these projects. Naming rights are an option for a potential donor.

This facility, located right in the heart of Phillips, will be significant in Minneapolis for a few reasons, including :

  1. This will be the first and only indoor, public swimming facility open to all — a tangible example of equity and access in action!
  2. This $7M+ facility was a collaborative effort between the State of Minnesota, Hennepin County, Minneapolis Public Schools, Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board, Shakopee Mdewakanton Sioux Community, numerous foundations, the four neighborhoods of Phillips, and finally a whole bunch of caring individuals who donated their time, money and talent over the years. Minneapolis Swims was just the host of this big party, bringing everyone together, and making sure that nobody left until it was done. We needed absolutely everyone, without any one of those, we would not have a project.
  3. A historic, comprehensive working agreement between MPS and the MPRB was struck, covering all youth sports and sporting facilities that should result in less duplication, a more harmonious working relationship between these two entities, and result in better facilities and services available to the public across all sports in the future.

Attached are two illustrations, one is a broad overview of the facility, highlighting the areas that still need funding. The other shows the final version of the street view of the front of the building after the new addition is completed.

For further updates, please follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mplsswims/.

Denny Bennett is president of the board of directors of Minneapolis Swims and can be reached at denny@dennybennett.com or 612-804-0488.

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