“Swimming is the best all around exercise for all ages and abilities,” said Dr. Trent Yadon, chairman of the Woodward Aquatic Center Planning Committee.
“Woodward residents have wanted an indoor aquatic center since at least 1995,” said Gary Goetzinger, committee member. “Any age group can use this facility.”
A few years ago, a long-range planning meeting of Woodward citizens was held in the Pioneer Room. Attendees listed and ranked their top list of projects for Woodward to undertake. An indoor pool was one of the top requested items.
Flash forward to 2021 . . . local residents met at the Woodward Conference Center at noon on Monday, to hear ideas for a multi-pool aquatic center for the community. The committee members include Trent Yadon, Gary Goetzinger, Randy Willis, Rachael VanHorn, Kris Martin, and Hunter Richardson.
“An aquatics center in Woodward would be such a tremendous asset for our community,” said Leah Barby. “An aquatics facility provides incredible opportunities for all and benefits everyone, regardless of age or physical capabilities.”
“I grew up a competitive swimmer and know it’s an activity that provides fun and enjoyment for all ages,” said Hunter Richardson. “I’m a physical therapist now and we really need a place to help adults improve their cardiovascular endurance while limiting the impact on their joints.”
“I will never forget when the hospital was recruiting a physician to Woodward that we felt was a perfect match for the community and Northwest Oklahoma. Ultimately, we lost the highly needed specialist to another community because his daughter was a competitive swimmer and Woodward did not have the facilities she needed to train for her sport,” said John Brown, AllianceHealth Woodward.
Yadon, a retired dentist, and his wife Krista also wanted to make an Aquatic Center become a reality in Woodward. They went to Denver last year to discuss this possibility with the Barker Riker Seacat Architecture firm that has designed aquatic centers across the U.S.
Usages for this facility can include any of the following: swimming lessons, lifeguard training, water aerobics, low impact therapy for health needs, exercise during pregnancy, all-body work outs, year-round fitness, swim teams and competition, a lazy river/resistance current, water playground and water slides, wellness pool, and hydrotherapy. All ages can utilize an aquatic center.
“The City of Woodward is all for this project. They will allow us to use the land at 13th and Downs Avenue, by the Woodward Senior Citizens Center,” Yadon said. “WHS students could come across 13th Street and utilize the Aquatic Center for competitive swimming. Those already at the Woodward Senior Citizens Center could walk from the senior center parking lot to the Aquatic Center for water aerobics, water exercises, and water walking.
“Phase One of the Aquatic Center will include a survey on the website, between Jan. 25 and April 1, to determine interest and usage ideas for the facility. A feasibility study, informational fliers, advertising, a fundraising campaign, architectural blueprints, and a 3-D virtual model of the facility will also take place during this phase.”
Tax-deductible donations for these expenses are now being collected. Donations may be made to the Woodward Community Foundation, FBO (for benefit of) Woodward Aquatic Center and dropped off at the Woodward Chamber of Commerce building or mailed to 1006 Oklahoma Ave., Woodward, OK 73801.
When this phase of the project is completed, the public will have an opportunity to view the blueprints for this facility, see it via a virtual 3-D model, and give public feedback on it.
The next phase will include construction of the facilities, landscaping of the grounds surrounding the Woodward Aquatic Center, hiring of personnel to manage and maintain the facilities, and the training of multiple lifeguards for a facility open all year. Then the community can view the new facilities at an open house.
The overall cost for this facility is estimated to be $14-$20 million. The sources of this money can be donations, grants, endowments, private funds, and public sources.
The website for Woodward’s Aquatic Center contains all the current information about this proposed facility, photo samples from existing facilities in other communities, questions and answers about the facility, and the survey that everyone is encouraged to complete at https://woodwardaquaticcenter.givingfuel.com/woodward-aquatic-center by April 1.