Testing the waters for JCC aquatic center

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An aquatic center at a Jewish Community Center that Executive Director, Jack Fox explained would be a model for the aquatic center proposed for a Mainland campus of the Milton and Betty Katz JCC. An aquatic center at a Jewish Community Center that Executive Director, Jack Fox explained would be a model for the aquatic center proposed for a Mainland campus of the Milton and Betty Katz JCC.

LINWOOD – The Milton and Betty Katz Jewish Community Center in Margate held a meeting Tuesday, Dec. 18 at the Linwood Country Club to test the waters for a plan to build a satellite campus with an aquatic center here.

Executive Director Jack Fox said the reason is shifting demographics. Many of the families the JCC serves have moved offshore and are asking for services on the mainland, he said.

The purpose of the meeting was to gauge the community’s interest in the possibility of expansion to the mainland, specifically at the Linwood Country Club. 

At the meeting, which was attended by a few dozen people, Fox and JCC Chief Operating Officer Marg Mancuso showed a conceptual plan for the mainland campus.

“First I do want to make it clear about the JCC: Our home on Jerome Avenue is the hub of our operation,” Fox stressed. “Anything we might consider is in addition to our center in Margate.

A slide presentation included a drawing of an aquatic center at another JCC that Fox said is something they would consider mimicking because it has the elements that he is hearing are important to families at the Margate JCC.

The site would include a six- to eight-lane, Olympic-sized outdoor saltwater pool and an indoor pool. The plan showed a splash zone-style play area adjacent to the outdoor pool.

Fox said the Linwood Country Club would be a good partner for the project. It would allow the membership to have an aquatic program, something the club lacks, and the partnership could be advantageous to both parties.

JCC members might have a chance to have some kind of golf membership or maybe a membership that allows for use of the dining room, he suggested.

“A partnership with the Linwood Country Club really affords our members a lot of options,” he said.

Mancuso said the building would be approximately 20,000 square feet and have men’s and ladies locker rooms and five meeting-type rooms.

“The area would also include a more healthy kind of snack bar – not really a hamburger and hot dog kind of snack bar,” she said.

The first questions from the audience were about having gym facilities included with the aquatic center.

Fox said they were not considering gym facilities at this time because there is a lot of competition locally with gyms in and around the area.

A show of hands indicated that the majority of those present seemed interested in having gym facilities in addition to an aquatic center. The response appeared to take JCC representatives by surprise, butFox again pointed out that the purpose of the meeting was to find out what exactly the community would want in a facility.

He said another consideration to keep in mind is that the JCC will have to raise the money to fund whatever it is that is decided.

He said a rough estimate of construction costs is $250 per square foot; that would put the cost around $5 million.

Fox said he will be speaking with people and looking more closely at the cost to construct the pool and surrounding amenities.   

He added that if the project all comes together, construction could begin before the end of 2013. 


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