The Charlotte stop of the 2016 Arena Pro Swim Series will be getting underway this Thursday, May 12th, where the newly renovated Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center will be on full display. Closed since June 1st of last year for extensive renovations, the aquatic center will be reopening on time for this weekend’s PSS event and within its estimated $8.6 million budget. The center’s public grand re-opening is slated for June 1st.
The Mecklenburg County Aquatic Center (MCAC) opened in 1991 and has had minimal improvements take place in its 23 years of operation. save for improvements to the heating and ventilation systems. However, a preview of the once-aging MCAC’s renovations appear to put the facility on par with other rival pools in the region, including the in-demand Greensboro Aquatic Center.
Home to four year-round teams, in addition to the David Marsh-led SwimMAC Elite squad, the MCAC also hosts a Masters program, swimming lessons and water polo. Its location in the heart of Charlotte, near Uptown, is cited as one of the primary benefits of the facility, but now users can rave about the myriad of improvements within the building itself as well.
Included among the upgrades:
- The weight room has relocated to the front of the MCAC, opening up more space for drylands.
- An entirely new set of bleachers increases spectator capacity and are also accessed now via internal steps as opposed to poolside. That means less traffic on deck from spectators.
- A more open and expansive design embodies the lobby area to improve traffic flow during large competitions.
- The competitive pool underwent a complete re-tile and was outfitted with a new filtration and gutter system. An ultra-violet disinfection system has also been integrated into the pool, a concept which uses less chlorine.
As positive an impact as the MCAC’s improvements will have on area swimmers, Olympic Women’s Head Coach Marsh says it’s just the beginning.
“We need to have more water for year-round competitive swimming in Charlotte,” Marsh comments to The Charlotte Agenda. “Why should exceptional young swimmers have to go to Dallas or other cities to pursue their swimming goals, why can’t they come to Charlotte? Getting this facility back online is a step in that direction, but we still need more water.”
Photos below highlight the renovations (all photos courtesy of Jonathan Piscitelli/Charlotte Agenda):