- Ed Richter Staff Writer
In the coming weeks, the Lakota Family YMCA will be blowing a huge bubble behind its building.
Work started Saturday as nearly 40 volunteers assisted YMCA staff to stretch out the material that will be used to construct an inflatable dome over its 25,000-square-foot outdoor pool to make it available year-round.
“There is so much demand for indoor swimming,” said John Schaller, Lakota Family YMCA executive director.
Schaller said that demand has resulted in an investment of about $500,000 to build the inflatable bubble so members can use its outdoor pool year-round. The project also will include an enclosed walkway from the main building to the new bubble.
The 25-meter pool features eight lanes for competitive swimming and a zero-depth beach entry for senior citizens to participate in Silver Sneaker fitness programs. In addition, all of the other pool features, such as the water slide, will be able for year-round use.
The bubble will go up in late October and come down in late April or early May to accommodate the summer swimming season for the 8,500-member facility.
“We not only have our own swim team, we are the home waters for the Lakota East, Lakota West and Monroe high school swim teams … and the sheer needs of the community for swimming lessons,” Schaller said.
He said the Powell Crosley YMCA in suburban Cincinnati also has a bubble over its outdoor pool.
Sarah Matchison, the facility’s membership director, said they have coined this project the “Bubble” because it literally is a bubble (dome) that will go over our outdoor pool and our YMCA Families and the surrounding community will be able to use more than the Memorial Day to Labor Day time frame.
The Lakota Y also is the home of its YMCA/USA Swim Team, Lakota Y Stingrays. This past summer, the team sent swimmers to the YMCA National Long Course Championship Meet in Greensboro, N.C., for the first time in its history.
“By adding the bubble over the outdoor pool we will be able to provide family areas and family time to our community at the bubble,” she said.
Matchison said the Lakota Family YMCA also works with the local Butler Tech and Lakota high schools for their Cardboard Canoe Regatta in May. Students use their education and engineering skills to build cardboard canoes and race them in the pool. For the past two years, the event has been held in the indoor pool.
“Moving it out to the bubble will allow for more spectators and possibly more than two boats racing at a time,” she said.