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Leaders selected for aquatic center
Project set for summer opening
Construction crews work on the outdoor swimming area at the Cumming Aquatic Center. - photo by Autumn McBride


The city continues to make progress on the Cumming Aquatic Center, both in construction and hiring.

Slated to open to the public in early June, the Pilgrim Mill Road facility now has two leaders.

Greg Little, Cumming Recreation and Parks Department director, said the center's new manager and assistant manager began work Thursday.

Carla Wilson, who brings 20 years of aquatic experience, takes the reigns of director.

"I've worked at pools, lakes and oceanfront properties," she said.

Most recently, Wilson said, she worked for Disney Cruise Line.

"They have a private island in the Bahamas. I was the recreation manager there," she said.

Jeremy Howell, who has worked with the city recreation department for several years, was tapped for assistant manager.

Most recently he worked at the city pool on Pilgrim Mill Road and helped with Cumming's basketball program.

"But I first worked for the rec department when I was 16 and worked as a lifeguard," Howell said.

Wilson said she and Howell will be covering "all day-to-day operations" of the center, such as scheduling of staff and overseeing all maintenance and pool operations.

In addition to Wilson and Howell, Little said the department plans to hire a pool operator who will oversee all the technical aspects of the aquatic systems.

About 50 lifeguards will also be hired for the facility's three pools, Little said.

"We're planning in-water interviews with them some time in May," he said.

The aquatic center is on a 70-acre site that eventually will also house a National Guard armory, Department of Driver Services facility and a campus of North Georgia College & State University.

When complete, the project will cost the city $15 million. About $5 million of that is from Cumming's portion of the fifth round of the 1-cent sales tax. The remaining $10 million came from the sixth round of the tax, paid in advance by the county in December 2008.

According to Little, Winter Construction is still on track for the project's completion at the end of May.

"With all the snow and bad weather in January and February, our timeline got squeezed a little, but every thing's still on schedule," he said.

The 50,000-square-foot facility is broken down into three specific areas: a physical therapy pool,  a 50-meter competition pool and an outdoor leisure pool.

The therapy pool is "zero-depth entry," said Josh Stinger, project engineer.

"With that, someone in a wheelchair can just be rolled down into the pool," he said.

Tapering to a depth of 10 feet, it will also feature a jacuzzi area and lanes for competition warm-up.

The largest of the three, the competition pool will hold more than 800,000 gallons of water, Stinger said, with depths ranging from 5 to 13 1/2 feet.

Little said viewing stands will accommodate 750 people, and additional seating for 300 can be brought in to meet minimum standards for state- and college-level competitions.

"We can host pretty much anything short of Olympic qualifying events," Little said.

Outdoors, the leisure pool will feature a children's play area, a "lazy river" area and a water slide.

The maximum depth is 3.5 feet, and it also features zero-depth entry.

Little said each day brings new excitement for the opening of the facility.

"This is a new venture for the city of Cumming and all of us," Little said. "We're excited to have Carla and Jeremy on board and to get to showcase want we want this facility to be."