CPRD officially unveils new aquatic center
Having seen it slowly rise over the past 18 months, the community has slowly become accustomed to the idea of Chehalem Park and Recreation District's new aquatic center.
The new facility had a soft opening with limited programming for over a week prior to last week's official grand opening on June 7, so many people had already seen or even gotten to use it, but CPRD still managed to keep one big surprise a secret.
After numerous dignitaries and key contributors to the project spoke to crowd of more than 300 people gathered on and around the bleachers in the competitive wing of the new building, board president Pete Siderious signaled the unveiling of a sign reading "Jim McMaster Competition Pool."
It came as a shock to its namesake and longtime parks and facilities manager, who also served as construction project manager for the new center, and drew raucous applause from the gallery.
"I didn't think about it," McMaster said about being caught off guard by the honor. "I was too busy thinking about finishing this place to do that. I feel privileged to have that, so thank you to everybody for that."
After clearing out of the area holding competitive pool, the crowd gathered outside for a ribbon cutting ceremony at the main entrance before flooding into the facility's spacious foyer.
While many people mingled and enjoyed refreshments in the conference/party room, staff led numerous small groups on tours of the new facility, showing off its various amenities and sharing information about how it will operate now that it's fully open to the public.
Newberg resident Ari Ariahadi and his family had visited the old pool just once, but that will change after taking a tour with pool manager Tara Franks.
"It's impressive," Ariahadi said. "It's bigger than I thought. The river pool is pretty nice, too, maybe the nicest feature. Our kids like it a lot. We're going to get a membership and come here every day."
Although it's been a bit of a rollercoaster and a long time coming for CPRD to get to this point, from the initially underwhelming public interest survey results to passing the bond to actually getting the facility constructed, board member Don Loving commented that he certainly feels it's all been worth it.
"It's one of the most state-of-the-art facilities in this whole corner of the country, not just Oregon or just Portland," Loving said. "I'm pretty proud of it."
Also revealed at the event was the timeline for the renovation of the old pool into a fitness center, which is now scheduled for completion in November.
"I've had several seniors today tell me about how excited they are for the walking track, to have a place to walk after dark and in bad weather," Loving said. "It's something we just don't have around here. This is all great, but we're not done yet."