THE City of Ballarat’s new 50 metre indoor pool was officially opened on Saturday with eager youngsters chaffing at the bit to test out the new facility. After years of campaigning the world-class pool is open to the public.
The new heated 50 metre pool is a constant depth of 1.85 metres with a ramp entry. There is two-metre movable boom to allow the pool to be divided into two 25-metre pools, or a 33-metre pool for use as a water polo venue. When not in use, the boom forms the end wall of the 50 metre pool, complete with starting blocks and provision for competition timing systems. Features of the new facility include new group entry, retractable seating for 850 people, group change rooms, and a village of 14 change pods each with toilets allowing the option of greater privacy for patrons, and best practice DDA features. There is also a community meeting room, offices and first aid room.
The 50m indoor pool project was approved by the current Ballarat City Council and announced in the City of Ballarat 2013/14 budget. The design process began in September 2013 and construction started on 12 March 2014. The total cost on the new pool and facility is forecast at $13.85 million.
Local Ballarat Company Nicholson Construction were awarded the tender and worked for 240 days on the project. A total of 3,071 people worked on the project, investing 43,000 work hours into building the new facility.
Ballarat Swim Club Coach Morgan Murphy said the new 50 metre pool was a great facility and there was no doubt that it was a state of the art training facility.
“This opens up opportunities for a lot of good swimming activity in Ballarat,” he said. “But it also means we can introduce new aquatic sports to Ballarat such as water polo – they play it in Bendigo and Geelong, they go past Ballarat to play one another. We can have water polo competitions between the three cities and Ballarat is in the middle and with this facility this is where we will come.”
Ballarat Gold swimmer Matt Jenkins, 15, described the pool as ‘awesome’.
“It’s really good,” the National Under 16 Freestyler said. “I will absolutely get great use out of it.”
Ballarat Gold vice president Anthony Hoffman said that as far as their club is concerned they were looking forward to training in the new pool. “We have a program in place with other elite swimming clubs in Melbourne and this will be the attraction for them to come up and train here, as well,” he said.
“The eventual goal for swimming in Ballarat would be to get to an eventual podium level, which is basically an elite level and having international swimmers come to Ballarat. With a facility like this we will be able to do that, it’s very exciting.” A free Community Celebration presented by the YMCA followed the opening.