Rochester Swim Club Orcas has plans to build a center with a six-lane, 25-yard pool on four acres on the city's northeast side, said Orcas CEO Autumn Kappes. It will be comparable in size to the John Marshall High School swimming pool.
The Orcas facility will be built on empty land near 37th Street Northeast and East River Road. It's the field where the J&J Vegetable stand is usually set up in the summer.
The club hopes to break ground on the project in May, so it might be ready for use in October. That is about the same time the new Rochester Recreation/Senior Center project should be completed.
Kappes said the Orcas' competitive swim teams will continue to call the Recreation Center home. But while the Rec Center is a good fit for the teams, the Orcas cannot offer swim lessons there.
The new facility will be solely for swim lessons. That means it will have warm water temperatures of about 88 degrees versus the 77 degrees of the competitive pool at the rec center.
The new Orcas center will give the organization a home for its popular classes as well as the capability to expand its offerings. The club offers 10 classes a week, year-round. However, Kappes says the classes fill up right away, and the club often needs to turn people away.
"We've shuffled around to pools all over town for lessons. Right now, we're doing some in hotel pools," she said. "This will bring everybody together under one roof. We really need this."
The Orcas, which averages 225 swimmers in the lessons and 365 youth swimmers, has been saving for this project for several years. To help defray the costs, Kappes said the club will lease some gym space in the center to Triton Multisports, a Rochester triathlon training group. Rochester's Achieve Results Physical Therapy also will lease space in the center.
The new center will allow the Orcas to offer many more classes and possibly try some new programs. For example, Kappes is looking into grant opportunities to help fund lessons for kids who can't afford the cost. This new pool eliminates the rental fees involved in using other Rochester pools, which makes it easier to line up lesson scholarships. The Orcas also are mulling over the possibility of starting a water polo team.
"We have a whole list of ideas of how to use (the new pool)," she said.