King County Aquatic Center receives $50,000 grant for video display

The Weyerhaeuser King County Aquatic Center was awarded a $50,000 grant to upgrade the facility’s visual display capabilities in the lobby.

The grant was provided by the King County Youth and Amateur Sports Grants fund.

“It’s going to be used for a video display, like a large TV screen,” said Mike Dunwiddie, regional coordinator for aquatic center who has worked at the facility since it opened in 1990. “It’s actually a collection of nine monitors put together as if it’s one monitor in our lobby.”

The new display will be approximately 13 feet wide and 8 feet tall. Construction is expected to begin in the fall, with completion anticipated before the end of 2018.

King County Councilman Pete von Reichbauer, who represents the Federal Way area, presented the grant Aug. 16.

The display will serve as a high-impact advertising and marketing tool for major events, the King County parks programs, and the facility itself, located at 650 SW Campus Drive in Federal Way.

Live feed video of events happening at the facility will be displayed, along with TV interviews, promotional videos for the aquatic center and King County parks, and sponsorship opportunities for hosted events.

“Our other goal is to have interactive features to display historical information, like a digital swimming hall of fame,” Dunwiddie said.

The aquatic center has produced a long legacy of Olympic swimmers, divers, coaches and other athletes, he said.

“That’s why we’re really excited about the opportunity to also have this digital swimming hall of fame, hopefully to inspire the new generation of swimmers,” Dunwiddie said.

This new display opportunity will put the aquatic center above other facilities, Dunwiddie said, although the aquatic center has always been on the cutting edge of advancements, whether it be for scoreboards, lighting, sound, or pool features.

“It’ll definitely help us when we bid on major events,” he said. “We compete with other facilities across the country. This will be another tool that will entice national governing bodies to bring their events here because not only will they be able to advertise in the main auditorium, they know a large collection of people come to our events and hang out in our lobby.”

Approximately 1,000 people visit the facility daily; between 450,000 and 500,000 people are recorded on an annual basis.

“A large number of that total is from folks that are the participating or coming to be a spectator at major events,” Dunwiddie said.

The aquatic center hosts a range national and international events, which most recently include the Remote Operated Vehicles competition that welcomed participants from 23 countries, and the 50th annual Special Olympics USA Games in early July. The facility has also held five Olympic Trials, along with hosting nearly every national event possible for sports since the facility’s opening in 1990.

“We’re one of the most successful facilities for hosting international and national events in our country,” Dunwiddie said.