GREENSBORO, N.C. – Groundbreaking ceremonies were held Thursday for the Greensboro Aquatics Center.
- It's an $8 million expansion
- Construction is expected to be completed in June of next year
- Hotel and motel occupancy taxes will pay for the new building
The center’s had a positive impact on the local economy in its seven years of operation.
"Our Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates that there has been a $15 million economic impact for the positive as a result of the Aquatics Center,” said Greensboro City Councilman Justin Outling.
Family doctor Kurt Lauenstein is a frequent visitor.
"I used to run and my joints can't take the running anymore, so I took up swimming a few years ago,” said Lauenstein. "Generally I try and get over here as much as I can."
The center's maxed out its space, according to Greensboro Coliseum Complex director Matt Brown.
"We're opening at 4:45 in the morning, and running 19 hours a day, and there's activity throughout that window of time, 360 days a year,” said Brown.
The GAC's hosted to high profile events including Olympic trials, USA Diving Championships and ACC Swimming Championships in addition to high school events.
"Some of our events are so big and there's 1,500 and 1,600 swimmers in them. They're sharing lanes and so this just gives them a little more space," GAC director Susan Braman.
Crews have already dove into construction. The $8 million expansion is already attracting attention around the country.
"We are actively already looking for new bids for national championships to come here," said Braman.
Hotel and motel occupancy taxes will pay for the new building. It'll house a fourth pool with 19 additional lanes.
"It'll be the best and largest aquatics center in the country,” said Brown.
The center even has a swimming program for youngsters.
Community members like Lauenstein think it's a win-win proposition.
"Many people have learned how to swim, so it's saved lives and it's made money for our community, and it's made our community stronger and put us on the map," said Lauenstein.
Construction is expected to be completed in June of next year.