North Charleston and DD2 aquatic center to break ground in January

New design plans for the North Charleston and Dorchester District Two Aquatic Center were unveiled at a North Charleston finance committee meeting on Tuesday.

Construction for the $20 million project is expected to begin in January after several years of planning.

It will be located on Patriot Boulevard next to Fort Dorchester High School.

There's a sign in front of trees on Patriot Boulevard that says 'coming soon.' Many residents who live nearby are excited about the aquatic center coming to their area.

It will be used for swim team meets, practices and will be open to public use. It will take about 18 months for construction, so it will be about two years before it is officially open.

Kathleen Hamilton lives nearby.

"I think it will be a fantastic thing to happen for us," Hamilton said. "We do not have one and a lot of other subdivisions do not have one."

Kathleen Hamilton had her own pool in her backyard before moving to North Charleston.

"We had an in-ground pool of 10 ft., really deep,10 ft. diving board," Hamilton said. "So you come from this and you have nothing."

The option she has now is use pools in other communities or on the military base. She's looking forward to the convenience, much like coach and teacher for the district, Ike Board.

"I'm excited because it's going to bring a lot more to the community," Board said.

An architect with SGA Architecture presented some of the design plans.

There will be two indoor pools, a 10-lane pool for swim competitions and one for practice.

Mayor of North Charleston Keith Summey says it will provide an opportunity for swim lessons and a place to host regional competitions, boosting the local economic impact.

"The day we open that thing is going to be a life changer for a lot of people," Summey said.

It'll also cut down on travel time for swim team practices.

"For us when we have family come in it's a fantastic deal, I look forward to having it," Hamilton said.

City and district officials say the operational costs have not been determined at this time, so it is not clear if there will be a fee to use the pool.

The school district will pay about $7.5 million dollars for the project, while the city will contribute about $12.5 million.

Dorchester School District voters also approved a tax increase in 2012 to pay for the aquatic center before it was a joint project between the school district and the city.

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