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Columbia Athletic Club in Kirkland opens new state-of-the-art aquatic center
Faced with a pool filled to capacity and dwindling pools in the area, the family-owned Columbia Athletic Club opened its new aquatic center this week that will help the club keep pace with demand.
“Our capacity for all the programs we were running here, the pool was packed and not everybody could use it who needed to,” said Jeannie Shardelman, who has been the club’s operations director for 13 years. “So we’ve got a huge demand just internally, but outside the public is looking for places to go, too. We’ve lost pools in the area. There used to be a pool up at St. Edward that people could use.”
Club officials are excited about the $3 million state-of-the-art project, which is one of the biggest upgrades many employees have seen in the club’s 32-year history.
And the pool itself hasn’t been updated in 25 years, noted Stephanie Outsen, aquatics director.
The new aquatic center, which opened this week, features a 25 yard lap pool, 17 yard therapy/teaching pool, hot tub and family changing rooms.
“Previously we had one pool that wasn’t regulation size,” said Outsen, noting both pools have saltwater.
The club’s nearly 2,000 members - many who are families and seniors - can take advantage of a warmer pool for programs like water therapy classes and swim lessons. The larger pool will be used for high intensity aerobics, lap swimming and swim team practices, said Outsen.
“The size of the lap pool now is actually the standard, where competitive swimmers can actually train more effectively, whereas before 17 yards and you’re ready to turn around when you get your stride,” added Outsen. “In a 25 yard pool you can do more triathlon and iron man training.”
Designed to create a welcoming environment, 16 foot ceilings and large windows will also channel soft natural light into the space.
“It’s going to be exciting to take people down and show them the pool. It’s light, it’s bright, it’s open,” said Shardelman. “So it’s a huge, huge difference.”
The Columbia Athletic Club will soon hold an open house for the new aquatic center, but officials have not set a date yet.
The Columbia Athletic Club is located at 11450 98th Ave. N.E., in Kirkland’s Juanita neighborhood. For information, call (425) 821-0882 or visit www.columbiaathletic.com.