YMCA unveils finished expansion

Hundreds turn out to see result of Platte Co. Community Center North’s $12.6-million project

Matt Eaves’ voice crackled out of the portable speaker but became mostly lost amid the din. With hundreds of people packed into Platte County Community Center North’s bleachers and the area surrounding the new eight-lane competition pool, the facility’s executive director needed to use more of his voice to garner the proper attention. There was much to see at July 18’s ceremony to display the Community Center North’s multi-million-dollar expansion, which took about 16 months to complete. Officials from the YMCA, Platte City and the Platte County R-3 School District took turns addressing the crowd in celebration of about four years of work to reach this point. The high school’s boys and girls swimming and diving teams become the priority users for the competition pool during after-school hours, and the district also hopes to explore additional educational opportunities at the facility. The overall cost sits at $12.6 million with the majority from county half-cent parks tax money and $1,660,828 total, including interest, from the R-3 School District. “It’s wonderful to see the facility as we dreamed,” said former Platte County Presiding Commissioner Betty Knight, who was serving in that role when plans for expansion were finalized in 2011. “It’s served the community well up until this point but to have the pool for the high school and the partnerships that are going on, it’s just a dream come true. “It’s very heartwarming to see what you thought about could happen really come to fruition and be built.” Operated through a unique partnership between Kansas City YMCA and the Platte County Parks and Recreation Department, Community Center North opened in 2004. The most recent expansion project, which broke ground in March of 2013, took the facility from about 35,000 square feet to about 75,000. The competition pool complete with electronic timing system and bulkhead to convert it from 25 yards to 25 meters serves as the centerpiece, but the YMCA also added a full-sized gymnasium with elevated walking track, a resistance walk river paired with the existing pool area and various other enhancements. Community Center North also added parking on the east side of the facility with help from the neighboring Mid-Continent Public Library. The new competition pool features bright orange and white lane markers and flag bunting of the same color hanging above the water. With that scene serving as the backdrop, various officials involved with the process — a joint project between WNB Architects and JE Dunn Construction, the same groups who worked on the buildings original construction — spoke to the assembled crowd before a select few individuals received the chance to jump into the new pool, which will also host youth swimming and potentially regional and national meets. First, there were two “races” with participants from Platte County’s swim team before a few younger members plunged off the 1-meter diving board into the water and waiting arms of a lifeguard.

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