Northside ISD and Bexar County joined together Thursday morning to break ground for the construction of the Northside Swim Center at the Farris Athletic Complex.
The complex, which will include a 50-meter, Olympic-size outdoor swim stadium with an adjacent diving pool and warm-up pool, will be built behind the existing Northside Natatorium near Hausman Road and Loop 1604.
Construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2012.
The development of the swim center is the result of a unique partnership between Northside ISD and Bexar County. In May 2008, Bexar County voters approved a tax referendum to provide $7 million in funding, and in May 2010, NISD voters approved a bond issue to fund a matching $7 million.
The pool will be heated and cooled and will be used year-round by NISD swimmers, divers, water polo teams and community groups. It will provide much-needed water space for the District's Aquatics Program, which currently includes hundreds of athletes on teams at all 11 high schools.
The aquatics complex - including the Natatorium - will be the only one of its kind in the central United States and is expected to attract major regional, state, national and international competitions, which in turn will draw thousands of athletes, coaches and their families to San Antonio. These visitors will make a multi-million dollar impact on San Antonio's economy annually, according to the Bexar County Athletic Facilities Committee. NISD will rent out the aquatics complex for these competitions.
The swim center will meet both international and national standards set by USA swimming. It will feature shaded seating for 2,500 spectators and athletes as well as high-tech timing, lighting, sound and video scoreboard systems. Locker room facilities will accommodate as many as 1,200 athletes.
The Northside ISD Aquatics Program recently was ranked the top school district aquatics program in the nation and the No. 1 overall program in Texas by the United States Water Fitness Association based on services to the community and students.
This past year, the Northside Natatorium and the George Block Aquatics Center at Culebra and Loop 410 hosted 27 swim meets, six diving competitions, five water polo tournaments, as well as 5,300 swim lessons, aquarobics, family recreational swim, adult lap swim, and American Red Cross safety classes for community members of all ages.
Members of NISD’s Aquatics community help Superintendent John Folks and Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff break ground on the Northside Swim Center.
NISD Trustees, from left, Lynn Britton, Karen Freeman, M’Lissa Chumbley, and Bennie Cole have supported the partnership between the District and the county.
The NISD Aquatics community came out in force to support the groundbreaking of what will be the District’s newest swimming facility.
This aerial view show what the Aquatics complex will look like once it’s completed.