Two sites considered for Cleveland swimming venue

Two sites considered for Cleveland swimming venue

February 10th, 2011 by Randall Higgins in News

The former American Uniform Co. building on Parker Street, vacant for several years, now is being considered as a potential Cleveland, Tenn., competition swimming site.

CLEVELAND, Tenn. -- Two downtown locations are under consideration as sites for a potential competitive swim center.

One is the vacant American Uniform Co. building on Parker Street. The other is the Cleveland school system's Teen Learning Center, which is the former National Guard Armory building.

Cleveland High School volunteer swim coach Tim Davis outlined how he said a partnership involving the city school system, Lee University, a physical therapy company, grants, private donations and public programs could fund the project and provide a payback.

Davis spoke to the city school board's Site Committee on Wednesday.

"I've spent the last year working on sites and numbers to get us at a point where we can pay for it; basically we can own it and have somebody else pay for it," Davis said.

The American Uniform Building is owned by area businessman Nelson Bowers.

A drawing of that building shows a pool area, the city school system's administrative offices and a proposed development center that could house city and county planning, permitting and related offices and perhaps a fine arts center.

The proposed swim venue, or natatorium, includes a 50-meter-by-25-yard competition pool with a diving well. It would provide a training and competition site for Cleveland High School. A 17-by-34-foot therapy pool would be in an enclosed space. Davis said he has a verbal commitment with a therapy company to lease such a pool, providing revenue. Lee, he said, would lease the competition pool during daytime hours and could sell $25 permits to students for open swimming.

An early estimate for the American Uniform site shows an $8.4 million cost for the swim center and $13.5 million for the entire project. There is no projection yet on the armory site.

"I'm not totally sold on the American Uniform site," Davis said. "My interest is in the natatorium."

Contact Randall Higgins at rhiggins@timesfreepress.com or 423-314-1029.