Aquatics center to open at Howitt Middle School in Farmingdale: photos

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FARMINGDALE, NY – The Howitt Middle School Aquatic Center is set to make a splash in the Farmingdale School District community.

The two-pool center is scheduled to open to the public in September as part of a multimillion-dollar project undertaken by the school district. Farmingdale residents in 2016 voted to approve a $36 million bond for the sports complex and aquatic center, which also saw the reconstruction of the high school stadium, new baseball, softball and multi-purpose stadiums in Howitt, and improvements to all school grounds. district.

Unlike Farmingdale High School‘s existing pool, which has been largely reserved for district student-athletes, the community will be able to use the future aquatic center on a daily basis.

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“We’re in a really good place right now, and we’re about to open it up, so that’s exciting,” Farmingdale Superintendent Paul Defendini told Patch.

The aquatic center has two pools: a 340,000 gallon competition pool for the boys and girls varsity swim teams, and the smaller community pool which will be open to the public for programs and free swimming.

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The community pool will generally be open to the public Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., and 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. A free swim will be offered.

The community pool at the Howitt Middle School Aquatic Center in Farmingdale, which will be open to the public. (Michael DeSantis/Patch)

Free swimming will take place in the competition pool when not in use, said Ken Ilchuk, Aquatics Center pool supervisor and coach for Farmingdale’s swim teams.

The district will host programs like water aerobics, snorkeling, water volleyball, scuba diving, adult learn-to-swim, mom-dad-and-me classes, and more. A motorized lift will be available to assist those in need to enter the pool. More information about the program, including dates, times, costs and registration, will soon be housed in the “Continuing Education” portion of the Farmingdale website.

The building houses about 150 lockers and a high-octane cleaning and filtration system that sees the water hit with ultraviolet light, chlorine, sand and a double sanitizer, according to Ilchuk. A timeline of the history of the Howitt Middle School grounds will also be prominently displayed in the building.

The engine room of the Aquatic Center at Howitt Middle School in Farmingdale. (Michael DeSantis/Patch)

Ilchuk said the new facility will be ideal for the Farmingdale School District swim program as well as the community. Ilchuk, 55, who was a student-athlete swimmer at Farmingdale in the 1970s and 1980s, has been coaching since 1998 and was joined by co-coach Randy Corcoran in 2002.

Ilchuk will also ensure the operational, logistical and security management of the new aquatic center, as well as the management of the programs offered to the public.

“It’s a huge, huge benefit to our swim program,” Ilchuk said. “We have a great tradition here.”

Between its boys’ and girls’ teams, the Farmingdale Aquatic Program won 40 division, conference or county championships in its first 52 years. The new facility will allow more students to get involved in the aquatics program, Ilchuk said.

He also expects the nature of the competition pool to boost student-athlete performance as well.

“I imagine our record books will definitely be rewritten in the next few years,” Ilchuk said. “It gives us the opportunity to compete at the highest level because we have more kids, more depth and probably the best facilities in New York State.”

Ilchuk pointed out that the aquatic center will be a community gathering place, as the perception around the Farmingdale High School pool was that it was only for swim teams.

“For me, as a lifelong swimmer, we want people to think of Farmingdale and say, ‘Everyone in this community knows how to swim because of this building,'” Ilchuk said. “That’s really our goal here. To make sure there is no drowning in the Farmingdale community…We want everyone to have a level of comfort in the water. We want everyone know how to swim, how to protect themselves. For me, that is the greatest value in all of this.”

The exterior of Howitt Middle School Aquatic Center in Farmingdale. (Michael DeSantis/Patch)

While swimming lessons will have a fee structure, free swimming will be true to its name: free to anyone living within the boundaries of the Farmingdale School District. People will show a student or staff ID, or proof of residency, and they will be given a padlock to use in the locker room.

The pool’s grand opening to the public is scheduled for early September, but a soft opening will take place this summer for student-athletes in the district, according to Defendini.

When the community voted to approve the $36 million bond, part of it, Dedenfini said, was that the public recognized the importance of the district’s aquatic program and wanted it to continue.

The new aquatic center is detached from the college buildings, so people will be able to use them even during lessons.

The new center comes at a time when the high school pool is in its twilight years.

“It wasn’t just about replacing what we had, but we really dialed it up and provided a much nicer setup that will be much more accessible to our community for a lot more programs than we ever have. had in the past,” Defendini said. “I think a combination of the two – keeping water sports alive here in Farmingdale and then providing a venue to expand pool use – were two key things.”

The school district will work to keep the high school pool alive for as long as it can and is working on agreements with other school districts that are willing to pay for pool use.

“God bless him, our existing pool at Farmingdale High School has certainly lived up to his expectations, having survived 50 years of use,” Defendini said. “It was at a time when the facility was no longer salvageable… The honest answer is that at some point this pool is going to expire. We’re going to have to bring it down.”

There is no date in mind yet as to when the old pool will be drained for good.

“As long as we can keep it open and as long as we can provide access to the facility at no cost to taxpayers here or even profit from the use of the pool by outside organizations, we will,” said Defendini.

Once the day comes when the high school swimming pool is demolished, it will not be replaced, Defendini said. The college’s two swimming pools will be the only ones in the area. The building that houses the school’s swimming pool will be refurbished, but Defendini does not yet know how.

Defendini presented the new aquatic center to the community on Wednesday during an event on the Village Green.

“It’s exciting to be able to entrust this thing to the community,” he said.

More pics

Zoom in on the competition pool at Howitt Middle School Aquatic Center in Farmingdale. (Michael DeSantis/Patch)
Zoom in on the competition pool at Howitt Middle School Aquatic Center in Farmingdale. (Michael DeSantis/Patch)
The bleachers of the Aquatics Center at Howitt Middle School in Farmingdale. (Michael DeSantis/Patch)
The changing rooms at Howitt Middle School Aquatic Center in Farmingdale. (Michael DeSantis/Patch)

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