Olympia aquatic facility still in ‘early stages,’ says park director


Olympia Parks, Arts & Recreation Director Paul Simmons informed the Olympia Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee (PRAC) that the aquatic facility construction is still in its early stages during the committee’s meeting last Thursday, January 19.

“I just kind of want to give you a heads up that it's going to feel like we're moving really fast. But I do have to say we're still at the very early steps of the process,” Simmons said.

The project is the construction of a regional aquatic facility located in a ‘large geographic area’ spanning two recreation districts, Olympia and Tumwater.

The feasibility study of the regional aquatic facility was completed last year in March after collecting the recommendations, feedback, and survey results.

“Why were we even doing an aquatics facility analysis? Many cities our size have public swimming facilities. We do not,” Simmons stated.

Simmons said that the project needs about eight acres to accommodate the aquatic facility needs, according to the consultant. The PRAC has looked for a property that would be large enough to not only accommodate this, as well as several others

“When you look at our park system, we don't have a lot of large, undeveloped open spaces that could accommodate that, Simmons said. “We went through [an] extensive discussion with the Olympia school district and are in the process of swapping 20 acres at Yelm highway for 27 acres on the west side.”

Simmons reiterated that the construction of the facility is a process that started way before COVID-19 hit, and it must be moved forward to the city council for a recommendation.

The aquatics study of the committee was launched in January 2020, and the contract was signed in February. When COVID hit they ended up delaying some processes and continued last year.


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