BERLIN – The planned Community and Senior Center might have three pools instead of two, the lead architect said during a public forum this week
In addition to the eight-lane competitive pool and a therapy pool, the aquatic center might also include a plunge pool, which will have a directional current, warm water, and will be able to accommodate three to six people at a time, said Tom Arcari from QA+M Architecture, the company that designed the center.
During the Tuesday public forum, one resident questioned the need for a competitive pool. Arcari explained that the competitive pool was requested by the Town of Berlin. The center will be located directly across the street from Berlin High School, which does not have a competitive pool.
A formal project cost has yet to be determined for the center via professional cost estimating. However, it is expected to be about $35 million.
“Cost is a very important factor, but don’t lose sight of tangibles that can make our community better,” said Donna Bovee, chair of the town’s Parks and Recreation Commission.
Barbara Gombotz, who chairs the town’s Commission for the Aging, said she feels that although the cost might be “scaring a lot of people,” the center is important and “long overdue.”
“This is a multigenerational project - it’s going to be good for our seniors, it’s going to be good for the students of all ages,” said Gombotz. “I am 82 years old, I might never get to see this completed, but it’s not for me, it’s for the town and for the future of the town.”
The Town of Berlin will apply for grants to offset the total cost, said Gombotz.
Gombotz also emphasized the need for a competitive pool.
“I am not a swimmer but when I hear the presentation from the swim team and how they have to go all over to different towns, I think, ‘why can’t we do this for our students?’ It’s going to be a wonderful facility and we cannot be held back by the cost,” said Gombotz.
An advisory committee will soon be formed to review and analyze the project. Additional forum dates will be announced.
The Community and Senior Center would offer meals and services to senior citizens, as well as public recreation space for residents of all ages. The two-story building will be approximately 70,000 square feet.
Four potential sites — Patterson Way, Berlin Turnpike, Kensington Road, and Spruce Brook Road — were examined for viability. The Patterson Way property was determined to have the most favorable conditions.
To learn more about the project and to view a video of the proposed Berlin Community and Senior Center go to qamarc.wixsite.com/berlin.