Whitewater aquatic center celebrating 10 years
IF YOU GO
What: Whitewater Aquatic & Fitness Center 10th anniversary celebration
When: Dec. 15-18.
Where: Whitewater Aquatic Center, 580 S. Elizabeth St., Whitewater.
Details: On Dec. 16, a PGA pro will visit the aquatic center to give guests putting and golf swing analysis. On Dec. 17, the center will host an open house the recognize those who contributed to its success.
More information and a complete list of anniversary celebration events and activities can be found at the aquatic center’s website, whitewateraquatic.com. The aquatic center also can be reached by phone at (262) 473-4900.
WHITEWATER Whitewater Aquatic Center’s 10th anniversary next week could have been spoiled by doom and gloom.
Instead, the facility that just years ago was on the brink of financial collapse is celebrating resilience and a bright future.
“I’m not surprised,” said Steve Ryan, president of the aquatic center’s board of directors. “We’ve got some strong leadership … and we’ve been watching our dollars and cents and helping to streamline business into the place.”
Whitewater Aquatic Center is hosting four days of events beginning Thursday, Dec. 15. Ryan said it’s a way to thank the community for its support.
Not long ago, the aquatic center was in the midst of a financial crisis.
A report in 2008 showed the center was losing close to $250,000 annually, raising the question of how long it could survive.
The board of directors assumed control of the pool’s operations from Mercy Health System in 2009, and finances began stabilize. Ryan said the board is cautiously optimistic the center could break even this year.
It’s still not where officials want to be, but it’s far from the center’s financial condition years earlier.
“There was a time we really questioned whether we could keep the doors open,” Ryan said. “But we said, ‘We’re going to do this.’”
The turnaround can be credited mostly to efforts that lowered utility costs, which were eating away at the center’s budget.
The board in 2010 hired Madison-based Vesta Technologies to conduct an energy study. The company came up with a three-pronged plan to install state-of-the-art utilities, lowering heating and water costs.
Last year, variable frequency drives were installed on motors that run the water pumps. Ryan said the pumps now shut down when the center is closed.
Ultraviolet water treatment is now used on two of the three pools. Before the change, the center used so much chlorine to purify the water that it had to pump in lots of outside air to make the air inside the center safe to breathe.
Now, the facility uses just 10 to 15 percent outside air, helping drive down heating costs.
The aquatic center is hoping to add ultraviolet water treatment to its lap pool, but it needs more money. The center is partially funded by the city and school district but also runs on donations and membership fees.
Ryan said the board eventually wants to consider renewable energy to reap additional savings.