Holland Aquatic Center expansion aims to serve diverse needs of community

When a renovated and expanded Holland Aquatic Center opens in early 2022, the facility will do a better job of serving the needs of the entire community.

When the $26 million project is completed, the facility will offer access to a warm-water leisure pool, a new six-lane lap pool, and an updated and expanded children’s play area. Also included are a new climate-controlled track, a large spa, a steam room, a sauna, a new fitness space, and a group fitness classroom. The children’s play area will feature a zero-entry wading pool, a lazy river, and a larger water slide.

While the expansion portion of the project will open in January, the renovation portion will wrap up later in the year.

The renovations reflect a commitment to cater to a range of age groups — not by segregating them but placing the pools in graduating activity levels from least active to most active, explains Sara Giesler, a HAC board member representing Laketown Township since 2008.

“I love that we will no longer have to close the facility when we have big swim meets. This was a real source of contention with our patrons. We will now have a consistent schedule in which to promote a healthy lifestyle routine,” says Giesler. “We will be able to increase our highest core value for teaching people to swim for sport, relaxation, and fitness.”

Every Age, Every Family, Every Day

Fellow HAC board member Darrin Duistermars thinks residents will appreciate the changes.

“I think the community is going to be very excited about our promise of Every Age, Every Family, Every Day,” says Duistermars, Holland Township Parks & Recreation director. “We will have a facility where everyone will be able to enjoy what it has to offer without worrying about certain activities or certain time frames not being available.”

The new HAC expansion features a bigger rec pool.

While the primary focus will always be on aquatics, the addition of updated meeting space, fitness area, and a partnership with Mary Free Bed Rehabilitation Hospital, HAC will be as much of a community gathering space as it is an aquatic center, he adds.

The Aquatic Center's warm-water pool, fitness space, and private treatment rooms will be used by Mary Free Bed therapists for physical therapy and aquatic therapy treatment. 

High expectations

“The greater Holland area has high expectations and high standards for its people, businesses, and community. It is my belief that the updated Holland Aquatic Center will meet those standards and expectations, and then some,” Duistermars says.

He learned to swim at the aquatic center and says HAC’s continued mission continues to be education and training for people of all ages when it comes to water safety. Additionally, the facility will provide gathering spaces for the community.

The expanded HAC will have a waterslide.

“Having a gathering space of this caliber will only enhance those personal and professional opportunities that make this community what it is. Ultimately, my passion for this facility is for it to be a gathering space for people of all ages, whether it’s networking, visiting, or educational purposes,” Duistermars says. 

Physical and emotional benefits

Giesler adds that access to swimming facilities provides an important benefit to the community, whether that’s exercise, competitive sport, or rehab for injuries. Research suggests that the benefits of water also extend to emotional well-being.
 
As a result of her daughters’ involvement in the sport, Giesler says she spent many hours at the pool — as a patron, exercising during the girls’ practices, and an avid volunteer for middle school, high school, and club activities. 
 
“The fact that it is world-class is just the way Holland likes to do things. We don’t go over the top or extravagant, but we do it right and we maximize our resources,” she says.
 
The opening comes two and a half years after Holland Public Schools district voters approved a bond millage renewal in May 2019, designating funds toward the center’s renovation and expansion to support additional community use capabilities.

“As we continue to grow, we’re striving to make the Holland Aquatic Center a hub for community wellness for every member of our community,” says HAC Executive Director Jack Huisingh. “This renovation and expansion will allow us to better serve West Michigan families, and we’re deeply thankful to the supportive voters, donors, and members who have all helped to make our continued evolution possible.”

 

Read more articles by Shandra Martinez.