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Friday, October 20, 2017, 10:31 p.m.

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Searcy Swim Center prepares to open doors

By Kayla Baugh

This article was published October 12, 2017 at 12:00 a.m.

from-left-staff-members-daniel-campbell-jared-smith-hyatt-stubblefield-phoebe-campbell-and-katelyn-denney-stand-inside-the-new-searcy-swim-center-which-is-scheduled-to-open-oct-23

From left, staff members Daniel Campbell, Jared Smith, Hyatt Stubblefield, Phoebe Campbell and Katelyn Denney stand inside the new Searcy Swim Center, which is scheduled to open Oct. 23.

— Swim, splash or just float and relax — the much-anticipated Searcy Swim Center is almost ready to open its doors.

Mike Parsons, director of Searcy Parks and Recreation, said the opening date is scheduled for Oct. 23.

Chad Price, pool manager, said community members are excited about the grand opening.

“It’s going to be a great day for Searcy,” Price said.

The center is at 525 Recreation Way in Searcy, he said, and will have something for everyone.

Parsons said the 19,085-square-foot center will include an indoor multipurpose pool with a basketball net; an indoor therapy pool; and an outdoor zero-depth-entry pool that goes from zero to 2.8 feet with a play structure.

The play structure in the zero-depth-entry pool includes slides, water guns, domes, buckets that fill and dump, and sprinklers that shoot out of the ground, he said.

“We call the indoor pool multipurpose because it’s a 75-by-60-foot competitive-swim-meet pool, but that’s not all it’ll be used for. It can be used for recreational lap swimming, swim competitions, water aerobics, swim lessons, water therapy, swim-team practice and more,” he said.

“The therapy pool is 60 by 30 feet, and the water will stay around 90 degrees to help people with arthritis exercise,” Price said.

According to the Searcy Swim Center official Facebook page, indoor pool membership is $5 for daily admission, $12 for an individual monthly membership and $20 for family monthly memberships for up to four people.

Price said indoor pool parties will cost $125 for half of the pool and $250 for the whole pool for members.

Prices go up to $150 for half and $300 for the whole pool for nonmembers, he said.

Tables are set up for parties so people can bring their own food and drinks, he added.

Parsons said the outdoor pool is not currently reservable for parties, but will be by next summer.

The swim center will be open Monday through Saturday each week, Price said, and open on Sundays for pool-party reservations.

Operating hours are 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and 6:30-9 p.m. Monday and Friday; 5:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and 6:30-9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday; and 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, he said.

The center cost about $5.1 million overall, Parsons said, and was funded by a 1 percent sales tax that began in 2014.

“It was an eight-year, 1 cent sales tax that went to many different things in the city —drainage, police vehicles, a new fire station and parks and rec needs, among other things. The tax benefited different aspects of the city,” he said.

“It’s a big quality-of-life issue. It’ll bring a lot of different people to the city. We’re really just looking for a lot of different things for youth to do, and this will provide another healthy outlet for them,” Price said.

Price said he looks forward to seeing people at the center having a good time.

“Watching them just being healthy and enjoying themselves — that’s really my favorite thing about it,” he said.

The people of Searcy make it a great place to live and visit, Price said.

“They are good, kind people who really are all about helping each other and trying to build their community. Everybody is so nice,” he said.

As far as rules go, Price said, he hopes everyone who visits the center has a good, but safe, time.

Everyone must wear a swim suit, he said, and articles of clothing such as cutoffs aren’t allowed in the pools.

Fourteen life guards are currently on staff, he said, and there will generally be two to three working at all times.

The Searcy Sharks Swim Team, which Price coaches, will also use the center for practices and meet-ups, he said.

Several members have gone on to swim in college and graduated as valedictorians, he said.

“It’s a great program overall,” he said.

Parsons said the swim center will have a large impact on the community of Searcy, keeping people in town rather than them having to travel to neighboring cities to use similar facilities.

The thing he’s looking forward to the most is opening the doors and finally letting people inside.

“It’s been a long time coming. I’m excited to see how many people will enjoy it,” Parsons said. “A lot of people don’t even know we have this or will be opening up in a couple of weeks. It’ll be great when they can see how nice the facility actually is.”

Staff writer Kayla Baugh can be reached at (501) 244-4307 or kbaugh@arkansasonline.com.

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