Not long after the announcement that the International Swimming Hall of Fame (ISHOF) would be departing from the city of Fort Lauderdale, Florida in favor of a new location in California, city commissioners will now be voting on whether or not to move forward on a proposed new multi-million-dollar aquatic center.
The entirely new complex, whose proposal includes two Olympic-sized pools, diving facilities and a parking garage, would replace the city’s existing declining 50-year-old aquatic complex and help promote the idea of Fort Lauderdale as the new “Aquatic City USA.”
According to Broward County’s “New Times”, the current aquatic complex’s overhaul has been in development for several years, but has seen its share of unpopular antics. Problems ranged from the city of Fort Lauderdale being found by an inspector general to have “engaged in misconduct” and favoritism when it awarded the construction contract to a particular builder, to overall dissatisfaction with the aquatic center’s new redesign plans. Initial layouts were deemed lackluster by board members, who described the wow-less designs as not exciting enough to attract anything but traditional swim meets.
In fact, several high-profile staff members tied the ISHOF’s departure to the overall “poor design and outdated concept of the new facilities”, as U.S. Olympic Diving Coaches Tim and Ron O’Brien stated that the originally proposed new center’s design “eliminated 99% of the surrounding community from using it; tourists have no reason to venture over.”
This line of reasoning led to additional architectural proposals, which included indoor dryland training facilities and an increased depth of the dive pool to allow for a 27-meter dive tower, in the hopes that the new building would “serve as a facility for training and competitions in this evolving aspect of high diving.” The changes would increase the construction price by more than $6 million, thus pushing the total project’s cost upwards of $40 million and would take approximately 2 years to complete.
As such, the vote tonight scheduled for 8pm ET tonight at Fort Lauderdale City Hall will determine if the project will move forward in light of the new cost estimates.