Booker T. Washington Aquatic Center set to receive six-figure facelift

The Booker T. Washington Aquatic Center is about to get a much-needed facelift thanks to a grant from Pensacola Bay Area Impact 100.

The “Just Keep Swimming” project was awarded a $106,000 grant from Impact 100 earlier this month to refurbish Washington’s indoor six-lane competition swimming pool.  Facility coordinator Megan Oberholtzer said about $85,000 of the grant will be put toward resurfacing the pool and updating the underwater lighting system. Additionally, showers will be added to the locker rooms and tiling will be replaced as part of the project.  According to Impact 100, the Washington Aquatic Center was last resurfaced in 1998. Indoor pool resurfacing typically has about a 10-year lifespan.  While the grant will go directly toward Washington’s facility, its impact will be felt throughout the Escambia County swimming community.   “Every high school uses [this facility]. Every swim team in Escambia County – high school or middle school – uses it,” Oberholtzer said. “… A lot of people come through this facility.”  In additional to high school and middle school competitive swimming, the Washington Aquatic Center also hosts elementary school swim programs as well as community events with Autism Pensacola and the Special Olympics.

IMPACT 100 Pensacola Bay Area awarded 11 grants of $106,000 each in 2019, for a total of almost $1.7 million. In addition to the Aquatic Center, grants included:

  • EHS Band Boosters Association, Inc. for Escambia High School Band Equipment Upgrades for Young Gifted Students.”
  • First City Arts Alliance, Inc. for its project, “Creating Space for Educating and Inspiring Youth.”
  • Santa Rosa County 4-H Association, Inc. for its project, “4-H Field Education Facility.”
  • The Secret Place Home, Inc. for its project, “Therapeutic Impact Classroom.”
  • Children’s Home Society of Florida, Inc. for its project, “Keeping Families on the Right Track.”
  • Pensacola Habitat for Humanity, Inc. for its project, “Building Homes, Communities, and Hope, One Family at a Time: Tools for Construction Site.”
  • YMCA of Northwest Florida for its project, “The Wheels on the Bus.”
  • Healing Paws for Warriors, for its project, “Save a Veteran/Rescue a Dog.”
  • Health and Hope Clinic, Inc. for its project, “IMPACT100: How to Save a Life.”
  • Manna Food Bank, Inc., for its project, “Generating Hope to End Hunger.”

Eric J. Wallace, Pensacola News Journal