KINGSPORT, Tenn. - You could call it the 'final lap' of construction.
With a little more than a month left until opening day, crews are working hard to finish the Kingsport Aquatic Center before swimmers dive in.
As swimming season nears, Kingsport's future oasis remains a steady work in progress.
From sun up to sun down, you'll find about 100 workers on site finishing up the Kingsport Aquatic Center racing the clock to finish by mid-May. "What we will focus a lot of our attention on over the next 30 to 35 days will be the finishing touches," said Chris McCartt, Kingsport's assistant to the city manager.
McCartt gave us a look inside to see how things are shaping up. We found the locker rooms nearly complete, a so-called 'wet hall' ready for water-soaked swimmers, and three indoor pools nearing completion. "We're basically a little over a month away, but we are on schedule," said McCartt.
Even so, on the outside it's obvious that landscaping has a long way to go. Mud and machinery are scattered as evidence that the work is ongoing.
But once plastering and paving is finished next week, crews will build a swimming sensation for children. "We'll have a water playground, so to speak out there [with] slides, little water cannons, various different climbing structures for kids to play on," McCartt explained.
It won't be long before a 900' lazy river is flowing with about 300,000 gallons of water, but we found out that's just a fraction of what it's going to take to fill up the entire aquatic center. That will take over one million gallons.
In fact, we learned the water filling process starts Wednesday afternoon inside the 50-meter Olympic-sized pool. "We're very excited about that, and it also means we're getting even closer to our opening day," said McCartt.
But it's going to take more than construction to get this facility ready. "The big thing right now we're focused on is bringing in lifeguards, gate attendants, concession workers," added McCartt.
It's a lot of work left to do with little time.
We learned the $15.6 million dollar project is staying on budget.
The lifeguards will earn about eight dollars an hour. The city is looking to hire about 70 to 80 total positions.
To apply, visit Kingsport City's HR website. http://hr.kingsporttn.gov/