Evergreen Community Aquatics Center Marks 3 Years of Service

Three years ago, the Highline School District reached an agreement with non-profit community group Whitewater Aquatic Management to open and operate a closed pool in White Center, which was renamed The Evergreen Community Aquatics Center (ECAC).

Since then, thousands of free and subsidized swim lessons have been attended by area youth. Now home to the Highline Pirates, Evergreen/Tyee, Blue Wave and WhiteWater Swim Teams, the aquatic center is also used by a number of area groups. In addition to swim lessons and swim teams, The ECAC has partnered with community and seniors including New Futures, The Union Gospel Mission, all-women swim group and Burien’s Parks Department.

Today as the group looks at renewal of the lease, it is breaking even thanks to capital grant for a high efficiency boiler. Yet in a forty year old building the group is looking for a way to sustain long term capital planning as other area pools have done through a funding authority, similar to the successful efforts in Des Moines and Tukwila in recent years. Being on the north side of 116th Street in White Center, however, means that the voting and funding mechanisms for an aquatic center are as much limbo as other services typically funded in part by taxpayers.

In the meantime, White Water Swim Team, a separate non-profit group that fostered the effort to open the pool, has made the commitment to pay off past due energy bills run up by the old boiler, and is looking for a solution with Puget Sound Energy to pay off debt.

“This is a pretty hefty commitment for a small swim team but our competitive swimmers use ECAC every day, and are committed to passing along the basics of aquatic safety and physical fitness”, said Joel Schweiger, Head Coach of Whitewater Aquatics. Recently, the adult masters swim team raised funds for sorely needed new filters.

“Our free lesson program and low income lessons have taught hundreds of children to swim,” Schweiger added.

“We have never turned away one person seeking instruction due to inability to pay. Accidental drowning is the second leading cause of childhood death in America. What is the value of one life saved from drowning? Surely it is hard to calculate that against the energy bills we are facing?” said Bryan Hastings, WWAM Board President, and an Assistant Fire Chief for the City of Seattle. Hastings added, “We are hopeful Puget Sound Energy will continue to work with us.”

The group is accepting donations at www.evergreenpool.org contributions are tax deductible.

Other area pools are all subsidized in some fashion by a municipal subsidy, and most are operated by a for profit group.

“We have none of those advantages afforded other area pools, but with the help of our swim teams we are committed to our mission to serve White Center and we expect to be here for the long haul,” concluded Schweiger.

About WWAM
WWAM is nonprofit group of community volunteers that operates the Evergreen Community Aquatic Center. Originally founded by many of the parents of swimmers at Whitewater Aquatics Swim Team, the group is committed to a larger mission to serve the community by preventing childhood drowning and promote healthily, positive lifestyles for area youth without regard for ability to pay.

About Whitewater Aquatics Swim Team
Whitewater Aquatics Swim Team is a not-for-profit swim club which is overseen by a separate parent board of directors, and coached by professionals. Sanctioned by USA Swimming, which governs the sport to the Olympic level, the club has over 100 youths age 7-21 training competitively from beginning to national levels of the sport. Membership in the team is open to all.

  • Contact: Joel Schweiger, ECAC General Manager and Whitewater Aquatics Head Coach
  • Phone: 206-941-8916
  • E-Mail: [email protected]
  • Web: www.EvergreenPool.org
  • The Evergreen Community Aquatics Center, a 501(c) 3 Non-Profit; 606 S.W. 116th Street, Seattle WA 98146 – (206)588-2297

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