WOODWARD — Woodward’s Natatorium Committee met last week to discuss the feasibility study done on the proposed aquatic center.
The meeting was at Woodward Conference Center.
The showcase was organized by Trent Yadon, chairman of the committee, to demonstrate the opportunities an aquatic center would have in Woodward. The speakers were Craig Bouck and Jenna Katsaros, architects from Barker Rinker Seacat Architecture.
The ideas proposed at the meeting consisted of using the aquatic center as a health center and a recreational facility. Bouck described making the space as “accessible to everyone” — for example, having a lap pool for competitive swimming, but when there isn’t any practice going on it could be transformed into a space for swimming lessons or aqua yoga.
On another side of the building it could have a lazy river for physical therapy and a shallow playground area that leads into deeper water for those who are getting more comfortable swimming. While all of these ideas could be implemented, Bouck also mentions “need vs. want,” allowing the community to decide what’s more necessary for the aquatic center.
Attendees were given six stickers to put on sheets that display the different concepts of the aquatic center to cast their votes. Another wall had sheets asking about Woodward itself to try and give BRS the feel of Woodward for the design of the aquatic center. Bouck and Katsaros make it clear they want community feedback.
Katsaros discussed the project’s budget and timeline. Katsaros went on to compare this project to one of their previous projects finished in 2017, the Woodland Aquatic Centery. She said the Woodland center cost around $12 million in 2017 but is now worth around $20 million due to inflation.
They estimate funding for the aquatic center ideally could take around six months, with fundraising starting later this year after the feasibility study ends. The goal is to start construction in 2025 and finish in 2026.
Yadon has been working on an activity center type project, “like a YMCA with multiple buildings,” he said, since 1995. He toured activity centers across the country leading him to discover BRS Architecture, but the funding never developed.
Years later Yadon figured making it an aquatic center would be perfect. It’ll be new to Woodward, it wouldn’t get in the way of the competition and it could be a place for “year-round exercise for everybody,” he said.
The next meeting will be on Feb. 13 at the Conference Center.
Alvarez writes for the Woodward News.