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Tuesday December 12th 2017

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What’s going on in there? Phillips Aquatic Center Update

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A new south addition to the original 1972 Phillips Pool and Gym building has taken shape and construction is over the halfway point. Throughout the building, the mechanicals, electric and plumbing have all been roughed in so that the walls, floors and ceiling can progress. The new structure will house the new zero-entry, 25-yard, shallow, warm-water teaching pool.  The new pool concrete is being poured into the forms in this photo.

BY DENNY BENNETT

You know something is happening, you see the mounds of dirt, the heavy equipment, and the hard hats, but how is it coming along? Is it really going to be a new Aquatics Center?

I’m happy to report, that not only is construction progressing, but it is right on schedule! You can count on being in the water with your Valentine this next winter.

If you drive by the site, you can see that the structure holding the new teaching pool is up and work has begun on the parking lot. What you can’t see is the exciting progress inside the building. We are over the halfway point, and, with each passing week, it will look more and more like they are ready to open!

Throughout the building, the mechanicals, electric and plumbing have all been roughed in so that the walls, floors and ceiling can progress. In the existing pool area, the spectator seating is taking shape, and you can almost hear the cheering for the South, Roosevelt and Washburn high school varsity swim team (TMT — Tigers, Millers & Teddies) as this diverse group of kids competes in swimming and diving meets. These meets will bring in families from a variety of suburbs giving a boost to the local economy as the team encourages them to arrive early, and plan to eat and shop in the area before each meet.

The new structure, which will house the new zero-entry, 25-yard, shallow, warm-water teaching pool, has also seen some real progress! The new pool is in, and the concrete has been poured. The attached photo shows the concrete being poured into the forms.

In addition to all of the construction work, Minneapolis Parks & Recreation (MPRB) Assistant Superintendent Tyrize Cox has been working hard on scheduling and programming for the facility, once it opens in 2018. While an exact figure for pool entry, membership or swim lessons has not yet been approved by the board of directors, Tyrize assured me that any fees will be very modest, and that scholarships for folks demonstrating a financial hardship will definitely be available.

Finally, Minneapolis Swims continues to raise money, and is currently seeking funds for two different programs. The first is the “Sha-Kym Adams Learn to Swim Fund,” named in honor of a South High School sophomore who drowned in Lake Nokomis three years ago. This program will provide “gap” scholarships for kids seeking swimming instruction, helping to cover anything that the MPRB does not. Just this month, we received a generous and much-needed $10,000 grant from the Bentsen Foundation!

The other Phillips Aquatics Center need is for the equipment necessary for competitive swimming: starting blocks, touchpads, scoreboard, etc. The MPRB is estimating the cost of these accoutrements to be close to $100,000. The TMT high school team is counting on using this as a home pool. These items need to be collected, donated, purchased or otherwise procured.

To make a donation to either of these worthwhile funds, email director@mplsswims.org.

Denny Bennett is a senior mortgage banker with US Bank, and serves as president of the board of directors and executive director for Minneapolis Swims, a 501(c)3 not-for profit corporation whose mission is to provide Equity, Access and the Opportunities that swimming can provide to all in Minneapolis. He lives in Minneapolis with his wife and three children.

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