The Pine Bluff Aquatics Center is scheduled to open June 29 and will be the first community pool inside the Pine Bluff city limits in more than a decade. Center officials are in their final push toward opening, according to Director T.R. Santos.

“We are real excited,” Santos said. “It has been a huge build-up to get to where we are, and I’m very excited to get going. We are in the final push. We are hiring staff right now.”

Santos said one of his goals is to teach every child inside of Pine Bluff to swim.

“We want to teach every kid how to swim,” Santos said. “There is no reason we can’t do it. We are looking for sponsors to help the kids who can’t pay, but we will have the teachers and the facilities. It is just a matter of parents wanting to have their kids learn how to swim.”

The center will feature AquaBikes and other attractions to help with aqua therapy. The center will also work with the Jefferson Regional Medical Center Wellness Center to help with the therapy.

“We … will be the only facility in the state with them (AquaBikes),” Santos said. “We will be one of the only facilities with them in this part of the country as well. This is something you see more of in California, so you won’t see them in Missouri, Tennessee, Louisiana or anywhere else in the area.

“The goal is to build relationships and partnerships with people who are already in the community. We want to have an impact on people’s wellness and help, so we are just trying to connect with them.”

The Aquatics Center will host its first swim meet on July 13, a feat that wasn’t expected to happen so early in the beginning.

“We will have 11 teams coming in. We spoke at the coaches meeting before an event down in Warren, and they all jumped on board,” Santos said.

“I think it is the first time all of the teams is all together except for the championship. It is a big deal for them to all come together this early in the season, and it is fun because I didn’t anticipate having a swim meet so early in the season. I was hoping to get one next year, but to have people to come out to showcase and show what swimming it all about is big. We will have a lot of fun doing it.”

Santos said that the Pine Bluff Aquatics Center will be one of the nicest centers in the entire state.

“I have been a swim coach and traveled for more years than I would like to admit, and I have traveled to all of the aquatic centers in the state and for a short course – which is what this is – it is the finest you will find anywhere,” Santos said. “You can find nicer 15-meter facilities, but you will be hard pressed to find a smaller facility that is this nice, especially in a community this size.”

One-day rates for the center will cost $5 per person. A one-month membership will cost $30 per person, or $50 for a family, while a three-month membership will cost $85 per person, or $135 for a family. A six-month membership will cost $160 per person, or $270 for a family, and a one-year membership will cost $300 per individual, or $480 for a family.

Party rooms, swim meets, swim teams, Water in Motion, Zumba and spin classes, and swimming lessons are available at an additional cost. Details: visit www.CityofPineBluff.com/Aquatics.