I just got through watching Matt Brown’s presentation of the Aquatic Center. In the presentation and accompanying slide show. The video presentation is over 20 minutes long. It is apparent that they are trying their best to get as much into this as possible and cut as many corners as possible to save money.
First – Handicapped Access. The warm-up pool has the ramp, steps and crane-fixture I was afraid they might have missed. However, there are no such provisions for the competition pool and through I doubt it is necessary for the diving pool, Matt Brown reports that that pool does serve as a lap/warm-up pool when needed. So handicapped patrons have limited access to 2 of the 3 pools.
Second – Handicapped Access for Fans and Family. The viewing stands are on the 2nd Floor. There is only 1 elevator in the entire facility. What happens when it fails or is tied up with a line of grandparents, aunts and uncles unwilling to take the stairs to the second floor?
Third – The Aquatic Center will be located on the corner of High Point Road and Patterson Avenue. This will eliminate an unknown number of parking spaces from a facility that has a significant shortage of parking spaces paces. The coliseum website reports just over 6,000 parking spaces, while the coliseum, special events center, pavilion and auditorium comfortablely seat over 32,000 people. The pool will force the relocation of the UniverSoul Circus and Guilford Agriculture Fair to other areas in the coliseum complex.
Fourth – This will be a metal building. I’m not a big fan of metal buildings; but it appears that slapping up some metal sliding is popular with the coliseum these days.
Fifth – As I suspected, there is no provision for video camera platforms. If they want to attract competition, they need to have those camera platforms. With sports television expanding to minor sports; you can expect swimming to get more coverage in the future. Already, many swim meets are video taped for later playback as well as being streamed live over the Internet. Swimming and Diving competitions require multiple camera angles – top, left, right, front, rear, above and below the water. Without these provisions, we’re just another pool. Sorry guys, but you missed the boat on this feature. You can’t get those angles when you have pushed to pools up against 3 exterior walls, leaving just one wall for TV cameras. You got to think about the future.
Sixth – Locker Rooms. The plans have standard locker rooms that are great for public swimming; but they failed to provide locker rooms for teams. Sure one team can dress in the men’s locker room and another in the women’s locker room and one in the family locker room. Didn’t I hear that this facility would host the ACC Swim Championships – that 24 teams (12 male and 12 female)? Do they expect the teams to share the dressing rooms?
If we are going to build an Aquatics Center, let’s get it right. You can’t cut corners and expect to be the best on the East Coast.