ALDEN, N.Y. — A multi-million dollar construction project at Alden High School is complete and ready for students and the community to use.
The public voted on a proposition to build a new aquatic center back in 2017, and work on the $10 million facility started in the spring of 2019. Crews were able to continue work during the COVID pandemic.
The first students will get to use the new pool on August 23.
"To see it finally come to a place where there's water in the pool and we are getting ready to welcome our swimmers and our students back is incredibly exciting," said Superintendent Adam Stoltman.
The pool now has eight lanes — two more than before — and there are two diving boards, a state-of-the-art scoring system, more seating, new locker rooms, and separate entrances. The changes will allow the Alden school district to host Section VI swimming and diving competitions.
"The excitement of hosting sectionals and ECICs and bringing people in from all around WNY... athletes from all around WNY and just showing them how wonderful our pool is — I'm really excited to show off the pool this upcoming season," said co-athletic director Sandy Gauthier.
The aquatic center is not just for students; it's also available for community open swims, learn-to-swim programs, and open to folks from the Alden Senior Center.
"The swim team will have their own locker rooms, separate from the gymnasium so we can have swim events happening or community swim events and not have to worry about basketball players walking in when people are changing or swimming. That was kind of an issue for us before," said Gauthier.
There's also a separate entrance so the community can use the facility during the school day without interrupting students. It also makes it easier for spectators to enter for different events and competitions.
The pool's zero entry is good for seniors, students in wheelchairs, or for those who need a little extra help entering the water.
"We can roll [wheelchairs] right down and get them in. We know how much that benefits some of their therapies," said Stoltman. "We're excited to be able to add that to our physical education program. OT, PT, all sorts of things that our students might need and require. We can implement some of the aquatic side of the therapies into our program."
The grand opening is set for September 7.