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Mitchell Aquatic Center celebrates grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony

The Mitchell Indoor Aquatic Center was filled with people, laughter, smiles and water fun during its grand opening on Tuesday. Even new Mitchell Mayor Bob Everson took a dive in the pool, going down a slide in his suit coat and dress pants. The n...

The Mitchell Indoor Aquatic Center was filled with people, laughter, smiles and water fun during its grand opening on Tuesday.

Even new Mitchell Mayor Bob Everson took a dive in the pool, going down a slide in his suit coat and dress pants. The new aquatic center celebrated its opening with a ribbon cutting ceremony, facility tours, live demonstrations of pool features and giveaway drawings.

The $8 million project started as a vision and "shows what can be done when a community comes together," Parks and Recreation Director Nathan Powell said. "Take lots of photos, tell your friends and let them know what a great facility we have here."

City administrator Stephanie Ellwein pointed out the idea of an indoor pool was once a goal established on the city's Focus 2020 plan and she was happy to see it achieved.

"We've had three mayors work on the project, 11 city council members, two city planning committees, parks and recreation board members, city staff and countless other input from community members," Ellwein said.

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Among the attendees were employees of Puetz Corporation and MSH Architects. Both companies were excited to see the completion of the project and had praise for the community of Mitchell.

"This is a million piece puzzle," Mark Puetz, of Puetz Corporation, said. "So many of you (community members) have put blood, sweat, tears, effort, time and money into this project."

Robin Miller, founder and CEO of MSH Architects, couldn't be more happy with the resulting facility. The indoor aquatic center was completed on time and within the budget set forth by the city.

"It was a tight little budget, but with the cooperation of the committee that worked with us we were able to put this together with all the features that were requested," Miller said.

The facility consists of a leisure and a competition pool. The leisure pool contains warm-up lanes, two slides, a vortex therapy pool, zipline, and play equipment. The longer of the two slides takes riders outside the building and was donated by the PepsiCo.

The proposal of an indoor pool was initially brought to the city council by the Mitchell Aquatic Club. From there the idea transformed into a facility that would serve both the community and the club's needs. The aquatic club pledged $1 million to help make the facility a reality and have spent countless hours raising money and earning support from the community.

"It began when the school district decided to close the middle school pool," aquatic club president Mark Wilson said. "That single decision would light a fire under the Mitchell Aquatic Club." During the ceremony, the club announced the competition pool would be known as the Mark and Chris Buche Competition Pool in honor of the family that "has been a guiding force in the Mitchell community," according to Wilson.

Other thanks was given to Puetz Corporation, MSH Architects, Parks and Recreation staff, hotel BID members, the Mitchell School District and PepsiCo for their hard work and dedication to the project.

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The vision of a single indoor competition pool has become a reality in the form of a large multi-functional aquatics facility. After four years, numerous city council meetings, a city vote and more than 72,000 "man hours," the Mitchell community has an indoor aquatic center to enjoy for years to come.

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