LEESBURG — The Leesburg Aquatic Center is one step closer to completion.
Construction has begun on the $5.3 million project, which will include an eight-lane competition pool and recreation pool. It’s expected to open in September.
On Wednesday, contractors were busy laying 290 linear feet of concrete forming the walls of the swimming pools.
“We have multiple trades working closely together so our primary focus is safety,” Leesburg Project Manager John Folker said. “The next milestones we have are pouring the deck around the pool, completing the interior and exterior finishes of the building and of course, installing the much-anticipated two-story water slide.”
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The complex will sit on the corner of Pine St. and Childs St. near downtown Leesburg, in a historically Black neighborhood in downtown Leesburg.
The location choice was intentional.
The aquatics center will replace the city’s pool that was in Venetian Gardens. Demolished to make way for the community center that opened in 2019, the pool at one point was only for whites.
In the summer of 2019, commissioners discussed where to put the new aquatics center.
The conversation turned emotional. Members of the Black community recalled a time when they couldn’t swim at the Venetian Gardens pool because of their race.
They asked for a location that was more inclusive, and the commission heard their pleas.
“It’s going to send a resounding statement to the city of Leesburg that there’s no more dividing line, that this city is one city and that race wouldn’t be a dividing factor,” Mayor John Christian said at the meeting.
The center is being built by Evergreen Construction and CPH Engineering, with their partner Water Technology, Inc., was responsible for the design.
The facility will also feature a 2,100 square foot building to house administrative space and restroom/shower facilities.
“It was certainly a huge undertaking to design the pool and the whole aquatic complex,” CPH Senior Architectural Designer Erica Gagne said. “The design took several months to complete and it’s very consistent with our design. There’s always challenges with a project but we’ve come very close.”