Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Full pools, empty playground...

The Wellness Center - underway!

The filled pools: freezing cold!!!!!

Here's the update: the pools are being filled - any loose dirt/debris on the pool bottom from the construction project will be sucked into the vaccuum system and filtered out...then the pools will be chlorinated and start to warm up...all in preparation for:


February 22nd (Washington's birthday, though only coincidental) is the scheduled opening date - come check it out!!!

Some bad news, however: due to the fact that the indoor playground is a separate project from the pools themselves - the Indoor Playground opening date will be slated for a much later date...the infrastructure is in place, but the design is still a work in progress, and interior work has not yet begun. In my humble (hah!) opinion, the playground should have been a higher priority, up in time to provide an indoor place to play over the cold winter. Oh, well...the powers that be don't see it that way, so the bulk of its use won't be seen until all of us moms hit it next winter!!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

...coming to you from INSIDE the Aquatic Center!!!

View toward the big pool

Constructing outside- those are the metal studs to be placed in interior walls

View of warm pool - for lessons/lap swimming

A hallway...

Another picture of the big pool

The warm pool...again

another hallway - I think between the community rooms and playground

Metal stud walls

The outside - stucco and colors to coordinate with BSC decor

again with the orange stucco!!!!

Part of the parking lot and exterior

It's getting closer...construction on the Aquatic Center is in full swing - once the windows are in, they don't have to bow to Mother Nature anymore!!!! Last winter being HORRIFIC, and after such a rainy summer, it's been hard to get concrete poured and the streets around the aquatic center completed, but there's a light at the end of the tunnel!!!

Here's the scoop:
Outside- the access road on Canary Avenue is done - all asphalted, nice and new!!! The parking lot - essentially to be shared with the Community Bowl - making it AWESOME - has asphalt too! Landscaping and all that nonessential jazz will be completed later.

Inside - concrete for the pool and deck have been poured, the metal studs are in place, most electricity/plumbing work is done, and drywall is being applied in places already!!!

All this in preparation for (cross your fingers) the first swim meet January 2nd - they'll really have to hustle along to hit that date, but mid-January will be another big meet and an opportunity to show off our great new facility!!!

Grand Opening activities (party time!!!) should be happening sometime in February - watch for a fun weekend of swimming, facility tours, wellness center activities, and all sorts of great family stuff to kick off the "new season" of aquatics in Bismarck!!!!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The first tenant...

The first tenant of the new Bismarck Aquatic Center is .... (drum roll please) A NEW SWIM TEAM!!! The Bismarck Aquatics and Fitness organization has announced the official formation of "Aquastorm" - check out http://www.bismarckaquatics.com/

The "Aquastorm" team is slated to consist of a youth swim team, Masters (that's old folk like myself) swimming, and a diving team. As new coach Loic Joseph alluded to, and I concur, there is a huge lack of participation in the sport of swimming in Bismarck partly due to the paucity of swimming lesson programs and advertisement to local youth.

I was a swimmer (for another ND city) as a youth, and we always wondered why Bismarck wasn't more of a powerhouse in swimming, considering the population is many times larger than other towns with competitive teams. There simply has not been a facility large enough to house the aquatic needs of Bismarck, and though the YMCA exists and houses their own swim team, there is just not enough room and pool time available to devote to developing a base of young swimmers. Back in the day (my day, that is) our team advertised once a year to all the local schools for swim team, we were managed and supported by the team parents, and we had a lesson "feeder" program, largely taught by older swim team members - somebody for the little ones to look up to!!!

That is why I am so excited for the future of Bismarck swimming - I mean, obviously not everybody wants to be on the swim team, but there has been no place to even take swimming lessons if you are not a Y member!!!

Just a quick rundown of the awesome things a new team and facility will bring:

- Swimming lessons available to the general public - with no "membership" necessary

- Swim instructors teaching not only water safety and basic swim skills, but working on strokes necessary to succeed on the swim team

- A feeder program for the local high school swim teams - future ND state champs, anyone?

- Diving team - the only non-school diving program I've seen in the state!

- Swim programs for school kids - possible aquatic programming for the high schools and older elementary kids

- Lap swimming - with this much pool space, there will finally be room here (and more room will thus be available at the Y) for fitness swimming

- Masters swimming - for us older folk (over 18) to have the opportunity for training and competition in swimming!

- BIG MEETS - I'm talking more than 500 swimmers and their families to some of these meets (i.e. Zones)

- Water polo and other aquatic opportunities

Of course the rest of the facility will be cool, too, but aquatic fitness is great for a lifetime!!!

The new team was mentioned last night and today in the local news:
New swim club in town (Bismarck Tribune)
and check out the Aquatic club on Facebook -

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

It's been a long, long time...

The Pool has been poured - it's finally taking shape!!!!

Since welcoming New Baby to our family, life has been extremely busy - but I haven't strayed far from the Aquatic Center project.

Newest news of note: the fundraising campaign for the aquatic centers "inner workings" like bleachers, timing system, starting blocks and such - is well underway, and reportedly about halfway to the $1 million goal!!!

There has been much talk in the Bismarck Tribune and on their blogger websites about the "underhandedness" of the park district in raising funds - such as not releasing information to the public, etc... but if one were to actually go back and search the park district website and such, one would discover that all this "new information" and "additional funds sought" were in the original plan for building the aquatic center. It should be no surprise, for example, that the aquatic community of Bismarck is lobbying for their share of the hospitality tax to help pay for bleachers - perhaps the general public doesn't realize just how many swim meets are held here, and just how much money swimmers/parents spend on hotels and restaurants in Bismarck - the major contributors to the hospitality tax. It should follow, then, that a portion of this tax money should be made available to the Aquatic Center for putting in bleachers - if there are no bleachers, there are no spectators, and NOBODY TO SPEND MONEY IN BISMARCK!!!! Amazing how it all works out....

More to follow...

Friday, May 15, 2009

Finally in the news

A media Open House was held Thursday, May 14th at the Aquatic Center, led by Dennis Kemmesat with the Streamline Foundation. Local news outlets took a peek inside, hardhats and all!

See what the Bismarck tribune has to say here:

and KFYR has the news and a video here:


Sunday, May 3, 2009

$?$?$?$?$ What is the local economic impact of ONE BIG MEET?

Okay, big question in the community - what exactly will this big Aquatics/Wellness Center do for Bismarck? What's in it for us?

Besides the obvious - additional aquatics space, indoor playground, multiple swimming lesson/team opportunities, etc.... there is the opportunity for economic stimulus. With the amount of pool space, there lies the opportunity for BIG SWIM MEETS. Okay, swimming may not sound like the most exciting of sports, but for families involved in competitive swimming, there is nothing like the electricity of watching a superclose race in a big Zone or National meet (or remember the US relays last year at the Olympics???).

Slated already on the schedule for the new Aquatics center are local swim club meets and potential high school championship meets, which bring in local talent, and fill local hotel rooms and restaurants - not to mention the mall! However, larger meets such as Zone meets will bring in swimmers from across a multi-state region for nearly an entire week! "Zones" is like a mini-Nationals for age-group swimmers - The country is divided into a number of zones, each of which host their own meet each summer for the super-fast swimmers with qualifying times. North Dakota is in the Central Zone (see http://www.centralzones.org/) , which consists of 15 states - generally divided into 2 different zone meets. Bottom line: one zone meet would bring zealous swimmers and parents from 8 different states to Bismarck!

Just how much money would one zone meet bring to the Bismarck economy? Okay, this is not scientific in the least, since the latest info I could find online about how much to expect per swimmer was dated in 1992... So, I figured all this based on what I would do as a swimmer's parent and family - like shopping, eating out, eating concessions, and hotel rooms.

Here goes: figured as if Bismarck were hosting the 2009 zone meet (which we are NOT - it's in Grand Forks). They expect approximately 800 swimmers for a 5-day meet. I divided it out as such:

Hotels: median hotel room cost (based on Hotels.com for nights of Aug 5-10) in Bismarck was right at $100/night. Multiply by 5 nights x 800 swimmers: $400,000

Meals out: figuring a 3-person familiy for each of the 800 swimmers (may be more like 4-5 spectators per swimmer) at $10 per person per meal (some will cost more, other families will likely be frugal and grocery shop - this is the average of that!) - figuring they will eat out 2x per day (3rd meal and snacks probably at concession stand)
total: $10/person/meal x 2 meals/day = $60/family/day x 800 swimmers x 5 days: $240,000

Souvenirs (t-shirts/towels, etc...): Figuring at $12 per t-shirt (2009 state ND swim meet price) at 1200 t-shirts (figuring half the parents will buy one) and probably $20 on caps/towels per swimmer
total: $12 x 1200 (t-shirts) + $20 x 800 = $30,400

Concessions: proceeds of which will go to host swim team/facility, prices based on 2009 state swim meet concession prices:
Taco in a bag $3.50, hot dog $1.50, pizza slice $2.50 - so average lunch $2.50 per person
Drinks: 2 per day at $1.50/beverage
Muffins/snacks: 2 per day at $0.50 each
Per person total: $2.50 + $3 + $1: $6.50 x (800 swimmers x 3 people/swimmer) x 5 days = $78,000

Programs: $5 each x 800 = $4000

Shopping locally: Figure $200 per swimmer/family of local shopping over the week (more for the unfortunate few who forget their swimsuit or other necessities!)
total: $200 x 800 swimmers: $160,000

Gas: Figure 2 tanks (one for arrival, one for departure) per family at $35/tank
total: $70 x 800 = $56,000

Not to mention pool rental fees, lifeguard/official fees, sponsorship for meet, airline fees (for some), entertainment (i.e. movies), and patronizing other local venues!!!

My total for 800 swimmers in Bismarck for one single 5-day meet is (drum roll please!!!)...
$968,400 or pretty darn close to a million bucks!!!

With this facility, the probability exists for at LEAST one meet such as this per year, with the possibility more like 2 or 3 per year. Think Zones, paralympic events (which include Canada - we're the perfect spot!), olympic training events (yes, they try to farm those out since Colorado Springs can only host so many people!), large diving events, ETC....

Question answered: is this good for Bismarck??? YES.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Walls are Going Up!!!

This post is a tad outdated, as I have info from this week that the last wall to enclose the building is near completion!!!! It looks like a building now!!!

These pictures are of the North wall, taken about a week ago. Following completion of the walls, the roofing work will begin - funny thing about that....they need A MONTH WITHOUT WIND in April/May in North Dakota to complete the roofing. HA! Better be making a pretty good deal with Mother Nature for that to happen!!!

I foresee a few windy days over the next month - so in about 6 weeks the HVAC (ventilation and ductwork) should begin - which is estimated at about 2 weeks worth of work. Following that, the actually digging of the pool (yay pool builders!) is slated to begin. I, for one, am really excited to see the size of this thing as it takes shape!

Next post: the financial impact of competitive swimming (not to mention diving and multi-sport events this facility will make possible - think olympic proportions :) ) - Just how much money will one great big meet bring to the Bismarck economy???