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West Fargo school officials get first look at aquatic center design

WEST FARGO - The West Fargo School Board got its first look Monday at design plans for a new aquatic center that will start construction this spring as part of the $98.1 million bond referendum passed in November. Zerr Berg Architects hopes to bi...

WEST FARGO – The West Fargo School Board got its first look Monday at design plans for a new aquatic center that will start construction this spring as part of the $98.1 million bond referendum passed in November. Zerr Berg Architects hopes to bid out construction on the Hulbert Family Aquatic Center by March 14 so a contract can be awarded by April 11.

The two-story, 63,250-square-foot facility will be built to hold a new Olympic size pool at L.E. Berger Elementary School in West Fargo, and the existing 40-year-old pool will be remodeled into a 40- by 80-square-foot practice pool with a dry land training area.

There will be six diving boards – four 1-meter diving boards and two 3-meter boards.

Tim Zerr, an architect with Zerr Berg Architects, estimated Monday the total project will cost $21.16 million.

UP Aquatics, a regional group of swim supporters, will buy the 2016 U.S. Olympic Trials competition pool for $900,000 and then donate it to the West Fargo School District. The district is planning to build a new $18.5 million competitive pool facility approved by voters Nov. 17 as part of a $98.1 million bond referendum. UP Aquatics plans to raise $4 million that will help pay for the trial pool and a state-of-the-art 22-foot by 11-foot size scoreboard with video.


"The more money the UP group raises, the bigger the score board gets," Zerr said Monday.

The pool is configured with 10 Olympic-size competitive lanes or more cross training lines, depending on where the two moveable bulkheads are placed. The bulkheads serve as dividers and can be moved in the pool for different events. The facility will have a main entrance on the east side of the building, leading to a large lobby with a staircase leading to two concourses on the second floor. The concourses will each have about 600 seats. Zerr said the facility will be able to hold about 1,4000 people between seating and standing room.

UP Aquatics lead fundraiser, Karen Nitzkorski, said the recently built aquatic facility in Bismarck has seating for 660.

The plans for the new pool will include additional parking for up to 300 vehicles. Berg said 200 spots will be added to the south and east of the school and about 40 spots will be added to the existing staff parking lot.

"For really large events, we're going to have to assume people will park at West Fargo High School, two blocks away, and walk or be shuttled in," Business Manager Mark Lemer said.

On the main floor, just north of the main entrance will be two wet classrooms, or rooms where wet swimmers or divers can be.

"They serve as kind of an expansion of your lobby space," Zerr said. "It's a place for people to mill around when they are not actively watching some of your events."

Also on the main floor will be a place to sell concessions, a director's office, a program staff office, conference room, work room with a window for people to sign up for classes and team locker rooms. The locker rooms will have a secondary entrance for swimmers to enter for practice or diving.


The current pool at L.E. Berger Elementary School will be remodeled into a lesson pool.

"Once the pool is functional, then we can go in and demolish the old pool and install the new lesson pool," Zerr said.

There, existing locker rooms will receive a light remodeling.

"The showers, for instance, will be completely reconfigured to have individual showers rather than gang showers," Zerr said.

On the north end of the existing pool, there will be an area for dry land training. Zerr said a pit with foam blocks for dive practice could go there as well as an area with a trampoline for diving training.

The lesson pool is configured with a handicap access ramp into it.The 40- by 80-foot lesson pool will be 3.5 feet deep on the east side and 4.5 feet deep on the west side.

The lesson pool will have moveable bleachers for parents who want to watch swim lessons and there will still be a viewing room over the practice space. There will be a family locker room with eight changing rooms, four of which will have a toilet, sink and dressing area.

The practice pool will also have a space for a lifeguard office.


Lemer said construction on the total facility will be completed in four phases.

"So, there is a lot going on, on this site over the course of 2½ years, and we have to make sure nobody drops the ball on either side of this project," Lemer said.

Designs for the new aquatic facility will include:

- Parking for up to 300 vehicles.

- Seating for 1,200 with capacity of up to 1,400

Main Floor:

- 54-meter pool with room for 10 Olympic-size lanes

- Six diving boards-four 1-meter diving boards, two 3- meter diving boards


- Concession area

- Two wet classrooms

- Viewing areas

- Director's office,

- Program staff office,

- Conference room,

- Work room

- Locker rooms for up to three teams


Second Level:

- Two concourses, each with seating of 600 seats

- One connecting concourse with viewing area

Plans for the remodel of the current pool at L.E. Berger Pool:

- 40 by 80 feet in size with water 3.5 feet - 4.5 feet deep

- Locker rooms

- Lifeguard office

- 71 by 47 foot dry land training area with possible foam dive pit and trampoline


- Eight family locker rooms

As the West Fargo editor, Wendy Reuer covers all things West Fargo for The Forum and oversees the production of the weekly Pioneer.
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