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SUNY Schenectady, Schenectady County & Capital Region Aquatic Center to Bring World-Class Indoor Aquatic Facility to Downtown Schenectady

Rendering of the Capital Region Aquatic Center at SUNY Schenectady

Schenectady County Pledges $5 Million in American Rescue Plan Act Funds for Project
Construction Expected to Begin in 2025 with Grand Opening in 2027

Click here for latest architectural rendering.

The Schenectady County Legislature on Tuesday voted to ratify a joint agreement between SUNY Schenectady County Community College, the County and the Capital Region Aquatic Center to construct a state-of-the-art aquatic facility on land jointly owned by the County and College in downtown Schenectady. The County’s ratification follows similar approval from the SUNY Schenectady Board of Trustees and the Capital Region Aquatic Center Board of Directors, ensuring a commitment for the project to move forward while its fundraising, design and partnership development continue.

As part of the agreement, Schenectady County has pledged $5 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds for the project. The center is estimated to cost $41 million and currently, $21.5 million has been pledged towards the facility, including $5 million from Schenectady County, $5 million in federal funding announced by Senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, $5.1 million announced by Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara, and $6.4 million in private pledges. The partners will continue to seek additional funding for the project and expect construction of the 80,000 square foot center, which has been envisioned for more than a decade, to begin next year with a tentative opening date in 2027.

“We have worked tirelessly over the past decade to secure funding and support to make this greatly needed aquatic center a reality,” said Kara Haraden, Capital Region Aquatic Center board president. “We feel privileged to work with SUNY Schenectady and Schenectady County to ensure all ages and abilities can learn how to swim and have access to other impactful programs. This project has been our passion, and we can't thank our private donors, SUNY Schenectady, Schenectady County, the state of New York and our federal partners enough for understanding the importance of the Aquatic Center and legitimizing the project."

While the resulting economic impact will be significant for Schenectady County and the surrounding Capital Region through attracting athletes and families from across the United States, equally beneficial will be the resources that the new facility will provide for the local community.

"We're thrilled to announce Schenectady County's commitment of $5 million in ARPA funding to bring an aquatic center to our community,” said Gary Hughes, Chair of the Schenectady County Legislature. “By partnering with SUNY Schenectady and the Capital Region Aquatic Center, we aim to make swimming accessible to our children and families while also attracting athletes and visitors, benefiting local businesses and driving economic growth."

The project site in Schenectady, located on the block between State Street, South Church Street, South Ferry Street and Fuller Street, has been home to dozens of businesses throughout its history. Over the past several years, the county and College have worked to acquire these various properties and demolish aging and outmoded buildings. The location will provide greater access to aquatic programming for all ages and abilities and become a community anchor for aquatic education, competition and workforce development efforts such as lifeguard certification. "This announcement represents the culmination of years of tireless effort by our team to bring this project to fruition,” said Schenectady County Legislator Richard Ruzzo. “The Aquatic Center is more than merely a new facility or an economic development project. It’s a new space where children, SUNY Schenectady students and members of our community can learn the critical life skill of swimming, which is one of the goals of the new NY SWIMS initiative. We thank Governor Hochul for her vision in creating NY SWIMS to expand access to safe swimming facilities and combat childhood drowning.”
The new center, owned and operated by the College in collaboration with the Capital Region Aquatic Center, will be a welcome addition to the campus and plans are already underway to develop College-sponsored programming. Included in this programming are potential athletic, academic and extracurricular activities which will use the aquatic center as a base of operations and resources.

“SUNY Schenectady has long been committed to leading higher education, career advancement, community programming and overall growth in Schenectady County and the Capital Region,” said Dr. Steady H. Moono, president of SUNY Schenectady. “Today’s exciting agreement reaffirms our commitment yet again, and I am thrilled to help expand Schenectady’s influence in New York state by bringing competitive swimming and overall aquatics to our area in such a meaningful way.”
The aquatic center is planned to span 80,000 square feet and will include:

• Regulation Olympic-sized competition pool and diving well with 1,200-person seating for spectators and on-deck seating for 600 athletes
• Six-lane warm water instruction pool
• Heated therapy pool held at a constant temperature of 90 degrees

• Multi-purpose dry space including meeting rooms, pro shop, dry land training facilities, locker rooms and concessions
• Other non-traditional and/or non-aquatics activities, with exploration continuing into stand-up paddleboard (SUP) yoga, NINJACROSS obstacle course, a rock-climbing wall, and more.

The Aquatic Center project is in sync with one of Governor Kathy Hochul’s top priorities. The New York Statewide Investment in More Swimming, known as NY SWIMS, has incentivized municipalities to build pools in high-need areas, with a goal of increasing learn-to-swim programs and addressing lifeguard shortages. Drowning is the leading cause of death nationwide for children ages 1-4 according to CDC statistics. Public programming, including infant swim lessons (ISR), Autism Swims, the Boys and Girls Club, Special Olympics training and scuba lessons will be some of the many offerings at the facility thanks to partnerships already established. The County will work with SUNY Schenectady and the Center to apply for additional funding for the project through the recently announced NY SWIMS capital grant program.

"This new swimming facility, in partnership with SUNY Schenectady, is fantastic news for the Capital Region,” said Assemblyman Angelo Santabarbara. “From competitive swimming events to community learn-to-swim programs, it will provide new opportunities for all ages. With the $5 million investment I secured for this project, it’s off to a strong start and promises significant economic benefits for our area."

Following Tuesday night’s ratification by the Schenectady County Legislature, the project will now move into the architectural design phase to determine how it may best occupy the site in downtown Schenectady.
The latest architectural rendering from Re4orm Architecture of Schenectady is available here.