Melrose York was sure the show of solidarity was not a normal occurrence.
On Oct. 22, York and her husband, Ron, met with everyone involved in the planning of the Kathryn M. York Adapted Aquatics Center at the Wilson Family Y.
The center is named for Katie York, Melrose and Ron's daughter, who taught adapted aquatics at the Y before her death in May 2008 at age 20.
York was an accomplished swimmer at Augusta Christian Schools. Her death spawned a fundraising push to raise funds to build the pool, which was first proposed by adapted aquatics program director Claudia Collins.
Construction started Oct. 22, with Melrose York ceremonially operating the backhoe. But before that, the Yorks met with the contractors, volunteers and Family Y board members -- everyone who had been involved in starting the project.
"As (Ron) and I met each one, we realized how significant it was these people were together in this room and committed to moving forward with this goal," Melrose York said last week. "We got the sense that this pool is going to be open June 2, 2010. Everybody's committed to it."
That date is the target for the facility's ribbon-cutting. It would have been Katie York's 23rd birthday.
Tim Troutman is charged with meeting that deadline.
Troutman, with R.D. Brown contractors, is the project manager. He plans to install a Web cam on the site so that he can watch his crews from his desk and so the York family can see the project all the way through. Troutman said it will be the first time he's used a camera on site, other than security cameras used to deter theft.
Troutman is on the board of Aiken-Augusta Swim League and said he feels a tie to the project.
"It's kind of an exciting part for me," he said. "Katie York was quite a swimmer."
The adapted aquatics program serves special needs swimmers young and old. The program currently uses the same pool as the Y's other aquatic activities, which can cause problems. Some swimmers in the adapted program do not respond well to the cool temperatures, and some need the one-on-one environment the program provides without the distraction of lap swimmers and other activities.
The new facility will put those issues to rest. Temperature in the pool will be kept at 88-90 degrees, ideal for those with blood pressure and joint problems.
A 42-foot ramp will lead into the shallow end of the pool. Salt water will be used in place of chlorine to accommodate those who react negatively to the chemical.
"Even though we still miss (Katie) a lot, it's such a joy to know that this project is going to honor her for many years to come," said Millie Schumacher, community relations director at Family Y. "We're very proud of it."
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