Foto News Editor
There was a lot of activity at the Bierman Family Aquatic Center today, as the city and contractor make good on their pledge to have the new facility open for the first day of Merrill students’ summer vacation. Students spent their last day in class today and the aquatic center gates are set to open at noon tomorrow.
Miron Construction was finishing up a few details today, while city IT director Ron Turner made sure the sound system and public wi-fi were working properly. The concession stand was being stocked and the facility was getting a final once-over.
A total of 14 lifeguards have been hired and trained to staff the aquatic center, with as many as seven working at a time to ensure safety during peak hours.
Parks and Recreation Director Dan Wendorf said he was very excited to open the gates and let the community see and experience the new aquatic center.
“It’s been a fantastic process,” Wendorf said. “I’m excited for our community. I hope that everybody is as excited and proud of this as we are.”
The aquatic center is named for the Bierman family of Merrill, who provided a multi-million dollar donation to construct the facility.
The new aquatic center at the Merrill Area Recreation Complex replaces the former outdoor pool that greeted swimmers in Stange’s Park for decades. The pool was closed due to the cost of ongoing repair needs, and was recently demolished. Wendorf said the new aquatic center is “light years” ahead of what the old pool could offer.
“The old pool was a fantastic amenity to our park system for years,” he said. “Now, we’ve built a world-class facility for children and adults to enjoy. This is a new place to make memories.”
Wendorf expects the new facility to draw visitors to Merrill from outside the area.
Starting tomorrow, the Bierman Family Aquatic Center will be open daily from noon-7 p.m. Admission is $4 per day for persons 2-61 years old; $2 for seniors 62 and over and non-swimmers; children under 2 are free. Season passes are available: $50 for individual city of Merrill residents ($80 for non-residents) and $100 for a city resident family pass ($130 for non-residents).
Wendorf said nearly 400 season passes have already been sold.