Tours to provide first look at pool

Madras Aquatic Center

by: Photo By Holly M. Gill - The entrance to the new Madras Aquatic Center is on Southeast Kemper Way, just south of Jefferson County Middle School.

   Next week, the public will have a chance to decide if it was worth the wait.
   More than three years after area residents passed an $8.1 million construction bond and operating levy for a pool facility, they will have their first opportunity to walk through the Madras Aquatic Center when it opens for tours Tuesday and Wednesday, Jan. 15 and 16, from 5 to 7 p.m.
   The Madras-Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce's Coffee Cuppers will be held at the facility Friday, Jan. 18, at 8 a.m.
   "The goal is to get as many people into the building as possible and generate excitement about aquatics," said MAC Board Chairman David Evans.
   Two weeks after the tours, the pool will open on Wednesday, Jan. 30. The ribbon-cutting will be held Friday, Feb. 1, followed by three days of free swimming events for the public, Feb. 2-4.
   "I'm very excited about the grand opening," said Evans. "It's a gorgeous facility, and I think people are going to be really proud of it."
   On Saturday, Feb. 2, there will be separate pool parties for middle school- and high school-age youths. The high school event will be held after the middle school event.
   Sunday afternoon, Feb. 3, families will be invited to the official grand opening -- a free function with activities for younger children, and Monday, Feb. 4, senior citizens will be invited to the pool for a free luncheon and swim.
   Built on a 3.5-acre parcel just south of Jefferson County Middle School at 1192 S.E. Kemper Way, the facility's exterior features concrete masonry, wood, structural steel, and extensive glass on both the south and west walls.
   Robinson Construction Co., of Bend, is building the 33,000-square-foot building, which houses the pools, locker rooms, offices, equipment rooms and a dividable party room.
   "Right now, they're working on getting the building interior completed," said project manager Mike Marino, of Madras. Crews are installing a slide, finishing stucco on interior walls, and completing tile work.
   "By week's end, we're going to start general cleanup," said Marino."
   Acknowledging that the pool has taken longer than originally expected, he commented, "We definitely endured some challenges, but in the end, I think Madras and the community got a lot more than they expected. The results are a great success."
   Inside the impressive facility, three stainless steel Myrtha pools, imported from Italy, and a large, whirlpool/hot tub are all topped by blue tile.
   The pools include a six-lane lap pool, with a depth from 4 to 12.5 feet; a leisure pool, which goes from a "zero entry" depth to 3.5 feet, with play structures and a lazy river; and a smaller pool for the slide.
   The lap pool is scheduled for lap swims from 5:30 to 7:30 a.m., 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., and 8 to 9 p.m. weekdays. It will also be used for swim lessons, aerobics classes, and recreation swims at other times throughout the week, according to Bobby DeRoest, program coordinator for the facility.
   "Everyone seems to be overwhelmingly excited about a pool coming into the community," said DeRoest, 28, who just moved to Madras from Portland with his wife Natessa and two young sons, Maddox, 2, and Tavaris, 1.
   "Madras is one of those communities that I think young families will be drawn to," said DeRoest, who is enthusiastic about his new home. "It has new housing developments at more affordable prices than where we're coming from."
   After managing the Sandy pool for four years, as well as coaching swimming and water polo at Sandy High School and David Douglas High School, DeRoest joins Grant Hayball, the facility's general manager, who was hired in August. Hayball, 28, formerly of Sandy, has also moved to Madras with his wife Autumn and newborn son Logan.
   In addition to DeRoest, Hayball hired facility manager Charles Schmidt, of Madras, who previously spent 28 years as the facility manager at Kah-Nee-Ta.
   The three full-time staffers will be supported by 12 to 16 part-time employees: certified lifeguards, swim lesson teachers with water safety instruction certification, and front office personnel certified to administer first-aid and CPR.
   "We'll probably have more part-time staff during the summer, when we're busier and have additional programs," said Hayball.
   The part-time employees, who will start out just above minimum wage, will be selected from among 10 people who passed the swim lesson certification classes in Redmond, a dozen who took lifeguarding classes that ended on Sunday, and six who took a first-aid and CPR class, DeRoest said.
   "With all the open water around this area," he said, "to make sure kids know how to swim is extremely important."
   Swim lessons will cost $30 for residents of the MAC district for eight 30-minute classes. Nonresidents will pay $40.
   General admission to the pool for district residents will be $4 for adults 18 and over; $3 for youths 3 to 17; $3.50 for seniors (65 and over); and $10 for a family.
   Regular swimmers can save with punch cards for 10 or 20 visits, or passes for three months to a year. For example, with a punch card, an adult could pay $65 for 20 visits -- saving $15 off general admission -- or $235 for unlimited visits over an entire year.
   Families -- considered all persons living in the same household -- can pay $99 for a three-month pass, or $350 for a yearlong pass.
   The aquatic center has a party room which can be rented out between 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Saturdays and 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Sundays for $30 per hour for a resident, or $40 for a nonresident. The entire facility can be rented out during the same hours for $120 per hour for a resident or $150 for a nonresident.
   Just inside the entry/lobby area, there is space for a small coffee shop or sandwich shop business. Anyone interested in such an enterprise may contact Hayball at 475-4253, or by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
   With offerings for all ages, DeRoest expects the facility to be popular as soon as it opens its doors. "Obviously, this is going to be a hotspot for people to come," he said.