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For the first time in its 25-year history, E-town Swim and Fitness Center can offer year-round swimming.
The center held a grand opening ceremony Thursday celebrating the completion of a state-of-the-art indoor facility surrounding its adult pool.
The new facility is a pre-engineered steel building with the latest in heating, cooling and electrical technology and a receding door that can simulate an open air quality during the summer, said Mark Nett, president of Nett Construction. The door hinges down and can be closed for use in the winter, he said.
The local contractor built the roughly $1.3 million structure in two phases to work around swimming seasons with roughly eight months of construction time invested into its creation, Nett said.
While the company has built similar facilities elsewhere, he said, it is the first natatorium undertaken with finish resistant to corrosion from harsh chemicals used to treat the pool.
“It was a learning experience for us,” he said.
The natatorium also includes a feature to dehumidify the indoor air, Nett said.
Debra Mattingly, general manager of the fitness center, said the enclosure has been functional since Memorial Day and addresses a need in the community by providing an outlet for continual swimming.
“That’s something people have been asking for the last 25 years,” Mattingly said.
Mattingly also believes the inclusion of an indoor facility will make swimming competitions and state swim meets more attractive to outside visitors and generate an economic stimulus.
Mattingly said swim meets already are an economic boon for the county because hotels are filled to capacity and restaurants see an influx in business — an impact that has since spread to Radcliff with the opening of new restaurants and hotels there.
The natatorium also operates as a community relations tool, she said. While the fitness center is not a community center or YMCA, it has been sensitive to community requests and tries to assist in whatever local causes it is asked to respond to within reason.
For example, Mattingly has asked the mayors of Elizabethtown, Radcliff and Vine Grove to add a leg to the Political Plunge by diving off the fitness center’s highest diving board. If they comply, she said, the center is ready to donate $400 to the Isaiah Alonso Memorial Foundation, she said.
A date has not been set for the dive but some of the mayors have agreed to her dare, which would follow the plunge at Colvin Community Center in Radcliff at 1 p.m. today, where several politicians have agreed to jump into the city pool in their business suits.
During the grand opening ceremony, Mattingly joined fitness center founder Bill Godfrey and his wife, Joyce, in commemorating the 25th anniversary with a cake featuring a photo from the center’s fledgling years.
Godfrey said doubters expected the center to flounder.
“They said we’d never make it in a small town like this,” he said.
Instead the center has thrived. Godfrey said the center has around 10,000 members and 4,000 memberships. His goal, he said, was to create a home where people could get healthy and interact with the community, which was desperate for something of its kind at the time.
“We had a lot of luck, but we had great people, great management, and I think that’s the key,” he said.
Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762 or email@example.com.