Guests who attended the Shawnee Mission School District (SMSD) Aquatic Center dedication were in awe after getting a first look at the new building. Click here to see a video.Community leaders and special guests repeatedly remarked about the innovative design, expansive seating and potential configurations for hosting meets at the Aquatic Center. The Dedication Ceremony was presented by the school district in partnership with the City of Lenexa and Johnson County Park & Recreation District (JCPRD).
The land for the Aquatic Center was donated by the City of Lenexa to SMSD. The city shared in the cost of the 220-stall parking garage, located adjacent to the Aquatic Center. JCPRD will operate and provide programming for the Aquatic center.
“JCPRD is excited to expand our longstanding, trusted partnership by managing and operating this beautiful facility,” said Steve Baru, Chair of the JCPRD Board of Commissioners.
“What an excellent example of two public entities maximizing resources and working together to provide outstanding services to the Johnson County community,” he noted.
At the Dedication Ceremony, the Shawnee Mission North Crimson Tide Jazz Ensemble welcomed guests. Tours of the facility were given by staff of JE Dunn Construction. They shared facts about the building, including that the 50-meter pool in the SMSD Aquatic Center is the largest pool in Johnson County, and that seating in the bleachers can accommodate 1,000 spectators.
David A. Smith, SMSD Chief Communications Officer, welcomed guests to the ceremony, which featured presenters from the City of Lenexa, JCPRD, ACI Boland Architects, and JE Dunn Construction.
Dr. Mike Fulton, SMSD superintendent and Brad Stratton, SMSD Board of Education president, thanked the community for supporting the 2015 bond that paid for the facility.
“The Facilities Committee, in 2014, was charged to look at what we need, what we want for students and what we dream for the future for the Shawnee Mission School District,” Stratton noted. “They were challenged to imagine what facilities the best school anywhere would offer their students and staff. And today that vision becomes a reality.”
Dr. Fulton noted that while the Aquatic Center is a premiere facility for athletes, it will also be a hub for academic learning.
“The Aquatic Center has a number of departments where student interns could add to their portfolio,” Fulton said. “We are exploring a variety of leaning opportunities that could even include underwater robotics.”
Shawnee Mission East swimmer Anne Deedy spoke on behalf of student athletes. “There are not many state-of-the-art aquatic centers in Kansas, and none in the immediate area,” she noted.
“The construction of this pool is not only beneficial for swimmers and divers within SMSD, but to the community as a whole. I hope more kids will become interested in a sport that has been great for me and my teammates. And we can’t wait, to dive in and swim fast!”
The ceremony concluded with a swim and dive demonstration by the Shawnee Mission East Boys Swim and Dive Team. The SMSD Aquatic Center hosted the Shawnee Mission District Swim and Dive meet to open the 2019-20 season on Saturday, December 7, 2019.