The governor made the announcement during a celebratory event at the West Virginia State Fairgrounds at Fairlea, West Virginia, the future home of the aquatic center, to be known as the Greenbrier Valley Aquatic Center
“There are so many people who would truly benefit from a facility like this,” Justice said.
"The goodness that it will bring to the area is off the charts.”
Plans to build the aquatic center have been in the works for nearly half-a-decade.
Thousands of individuals, businesses, and foundations have invested to try to make this project a reality, raising over $4 million to-date, though the $2 million gift represents the final portion of the funding needed to get the development off the ground.
“I’m proud, beyond belief, to be able to help get this thing across the finish line to where we will be able to finally get shovels in the dirt and start working on this project,” Gov. Justice said.
“So many people have given their time and their talent—not to mention money out of their own pocket—to make this happen. It’s been a long time coming. Today is really a wonderful day.”
The aquatic center's 22,400-square-foot main building will be equipped with amenities for people of all ages and abilities, including three pools—a competition pool, a recreation pool, and a therapy pool.
Additionally, the main building will include a splash dish, full locker rooms, a kitchen and concession area, an activity room, a classroom, a cardio-exercise room, and a senior club room.
The full facility will also include 6,000 square feet of open terrace, 3,300 square feet of covered terrace, and a parking area for as many as 50 vehicles.
For funding, the governor has requested up to $2 million from the West Virginia Infrastructure Jobs Development Council to go toward jump-starting the plan.
On the governor’s behalf, the West Virginia Department of Commerce will formally request the funds from the council, created by the state Legislature to manage and facilitate funding for infrastructure and other projects.
Members of the council will review the request and give final approval before the funds can be officially transferred for use on the project.
The Greenbrier Valley Aquatic Center began as a student project at Greenbrier East High School in the 2015-2016 academic year. A group of architecture, engineering, and business students created the facility concept and business model under the direction of Kevin Warfield and Tag Galyean.
“It’s even more special to think that this idea, that we’re about to put into action, was dreamed up in one of our classrooms by a group of ambitious, intelligent, and committed students who had an idea to make their community a better place,” Justice said.
“With this project, we are showing that anyone can play a role in making their hometown a little bit better. And I hope that people all across West Virginia see what we’re doing here and start to come up with their own ideas for goodness where they live.”
Galyean began approaching community members about their support of the idea and was met with a positive reaction. Eventually, a Board of Directors was formed to oversee the project. In March 2018, the State Fair of West Virginia agreed to donate five acres of land for development.
Construction on the aquatic center is currently projected to begin later this year. GVAC project leaders are aiming to open the facility for swimming by summer 2021.
More information on the project is available at gvaquaticcenter.com.