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The Journal Gazette

  • An artist's rendering shows what a proposed swimming facility would look like in southwest Allen County. (Courtesy)

  • Courtesy A rendering shows what a proposed swimming facility could look like in southwest Allen County.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017 1:00 am

Aquatics group plans southwest natatorium

ASHLEY SLOBODA | The Journal Gazette

An aquatics destination is in the works for southwest Allen County, with a possible opening as early as 2020, the Northern Indiana Aquatics Center Foundation announced Tuesday.

The venue, which is in the initial planning phase, is expected to support multiple programs, including competitive swimming and diving, general aquatics fitness and physical therapy, according to a news release.

“We are excited to announce our plans for this new regional aquatics center,” Executive Director Allison Brown said in a statement. “Our intent is to construct a facility and programming that better serves the unmet needs of the entire aquatic community in the northern Indiana region.”

The estimated cost is $24 million to $27 million, she said, noting fundraising efforts.

A location isn't set, but the organization is eyeing the county's southwest side because Southwest Allen County Schools “has committed a significant amount of operating costs,” Brown said.

The school district has a natatorium at Summit Middle School, which is at Homestead and Aboite Center roads. Summit opened in 1993.

“We are both pleased and encouraged by the efforts of NIACF to build a community aquatic center of this caliber,” SACS Superintendent Phil Downs said in a statement.

“The current Summit Natatorium is not only limited in size and scope, but also is in need of significant maintenance that will require equally significant financial investment. The proposed natatorium will enable SACS to lease space for its growing aquatics program, ultimately creating a financial savings for the district and its taxpayers.”

Assuming everything goes as planned, the swimming facility would open in June 2020, Brown said.

NIACF is accepting development donations and is seeking major donors and sponsors for the new facility.

The organization plans to hold public meetings to showcase the center's design, budget and feasibility study results.

“We're hoping to expand aquatic fitness in Fort Wayne,” she said.

asloboda@jg.net