New pool construction begins

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Corporate Contractors Inc.'s Kevin Day, Bray Architects' Clint Selle, Beloit Memorial High School (BMHS) Athletic Director Chuck Seils, BMHS Principal Dr. Thomas Johnson, Superintendent Steve McNeal, Board of Education President Shannon Scharmer and swim coaches Kim Waite, Andre DeKok and Richard Vogel gather for the groundbreaking of the BMHS pool on Friday.

Beloit Memorial High School Principal Dr. Thomas Johnson said Friday marked a historical day for the school as its hallowed ground was broken for the new pool. He stressed the pool would be in Beloit for decades to come, affecting thousands of students.

Before students and staff gathered for photos, applause and a turn of the dirt, Johnson, coaches and other locals involved in the project gave their thanks to the community for supporting the 23,000-square-foot pool facility.

“It’s an outstanding pool for outstanding students in an outstanding school district,” said Board of Education President Shannon Scharmer.

Kevin Day, a project executive with Corporate Contractors Inc. (CCI) joked he was a little teary eyed when he saw the parking lot go away, but said he was proud and honored to be part of the project. He, too, thanked the Board of Education, district leaders and the community for the pool.

“We are extremely proud to be here and take pride in all projects we do locally,” Day said.

Swim Coach Richard Vogel said swimming has a long history in Beloit. Today there are more than 300 swimmers, grades kindergarten through 12, in the school district using the pool at some point in the year.

“It’s because of you making swimming cool,” Vogel said to some hearty cheers.

Vogel also stressed the importance of sharing the pool with the community at large and offering affordable swimming lessons.

The BMHS pool is one of the projects designated for improvements in Phase 1 as a result of the April 2012 school district referendum. It’s budget is less than $6 million.

The pool facility should be ready for the swim season next year, according to Melissa Badger, community relations coordinator for the School District of Beloit.

The existing pool structure will become home to the school’s cardio and strength fitness centers, and the current cardio center will be made into classrooms. The new pool will feature a wheelchair ramp to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The seating capacity in the new pool building will accommodate 750 people, and the one-story pool facility will be 23,000 square feet and include a mezzanine, locker rooms for students and both restrooms and a changing area for the community. It will be open to the community for open swims.

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