Ft Lauderdale Aquatic Center In Jeopardy After Cost Hike

The long discussed Fort Lauderdale Aquatic Center could be dead after it was announced that the facility would cost 39 million dollars, 6.6 million more than the original estimate from 2012. According to an article in the Sun Sentinel, Mayor Jack Seiler and other city commissioners will not continue to support the project moving forward.

The facility was first proposed in 2012. It was a response to the stands being condemned at the International Swimming Hall of Fame pool in 2011. The ISHOF pool was one of the best in the country when it was constructed in in 1965.

Even before the stands fell apart it had become outdated. The last large scale competition held there was the YMCA Short Course Nationals in 2011.

Still, $39 million is a huge cost for an outdoor facility. In 2008, Florida State University was able to build a brand new, eight lane 50 meter pool for just 10.5 million dollars. They saved on costs by using the shell from the 2005 World Aquatics Championships in Montreal. The aforementioned Greensboro Aquatic Center cost $19 million to build. It’s generally assumed that enclosing a pool more than doubles the cost.

The City of Fort Lauderdale received only one bid for the construction of the facility. The lone bidder was Recreational Design and Construction. Among other aquatics facilities built in the state of Florida include pools in Coral Springs and at Miami Dade College North.

The indecision and mismanagement of Fort Lauderdale’s swimming facilities has been rumored to be one of many motivating factors that drove the International Swimming Hall of Fame to leave Fort Lauderdale for Santa Clara, California. 

Correction: a previous version of the article incorrectly stated that Recreational Design does not have experience in competition pools.


Leave a Reply

1 Comment threads
0 Thread replies
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
1 Comment authors
newest oldest most voted
Mick Nelson

The price tag includes more than just a “pool”. Even though we agree the price is higher than anticipated or possibly that can be achieved with a new bidding/design process, the project currently includes 2 x 50 meter pools, a 25 meter diving well with all boards and platforms, and a teaching pool. It also includes a 4 story dry-land training facility and banquet center with offices, new shower rooms, meet operations and management rooms, and spectator areas with seats. Also included is a 500 space parking garage for use by the swim facility and tourist visiting the downtown beaches. So comparing it to the FSU facility is apples and oranges.

About Chris DeSantis

Chris DeSantis

Chris DeSantis is a swim coach, writer and swimming enthusiast. Chris does private consulting and coaching with teams and individuals. You can find him at www.facebook.com/cdswimcoach. Chris is a 2009 Graduate from the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology program at the University of Pennsylvania. He was the first professional athletic coach …

Read More »

Want to take your swimfandom to the next level?

Subscribe to SwimSwam Magazine!