Union workers will build aquatic center for Edwardsville schools

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AN ARTIST’S RENDERING of the new Edwardsville High School Aquatic Center (at right) adjacent to the school’s Wrestling Center.
AN ARTIST’S RENDERING of the new Edwardsville High School Aquatic Center (at right) adjacent to the school’s Wrestling Center.

Edwardsville – The Edwardsville School District’s $5.3 million aquatic center will be built by union workers under a Project Labor Agreement (PLA).

Plocher Construction of Highland is to build the complex in cooperation with the Southwestern Illinois Building and Construction Council, which will administer the PLA. It is being designed by Hurford Architects, of Glen Carbon.

The PLA allows the Council to arrange man-hours among the various unions that will be involved in the project to make sure the right workers are available when they are needed. That will help keep the project on schedule and on budget.

The center will feature an Olympic-sized pool, 50 meters long and eight lanes wide, with 1-meter and 3-meter diving boards.

It will let Edwardsville High School’s swim club compete at the state level and add swimming to the high school physical education curriculum. It will be the only Olympic-sized pool in the region other than one at the St. Peters Rec-Plex.

The 28,960-square foot aquatic center is being paid for with a $4 million donation in honor of Chuck Fruit, a 1965 Edwardsville graduate who worked in media for Anheuser-Busch and later became vice president of global media for Coca-Cola. For 12 years, he was listed by Sporting News as one of the 100 most powerful people in sports.

Fruit was also a daily swimmer who competed for the Sunset Hills Country Club teams in his youth and later swam for Williams College in Massachusetts. His wife, Sharon Fruit, also an EHS graduate, is making the donation in his memory.

The remaining $1.3 million is being raised by a community improvement group, the EGHM Foundation, which has participated in previous district projects.

A 20-YEAR DREAM

In announcing the project, Edwardsville Superintendent Ed Hightower said the district has been hoping for two decades to add a swimming center as a complement to its high school on Center Grove Road.

“Over 20 years ago, when this high school was being discussed, there were plans to build a swimming pool on campus,” Hightower said in announcing the project.

“Today, thanks to Sharon Fruit, President of the Charles and Sharon Fruit Foundation and EHS graduate, District 7 will see its dream come true.”

Hightower added: “The Foundation’s $4 million gift will go towards the construction of the Chuck Fruit Aquatic Center, named in honor of the late Chuck Fruit, also an Edwardsville native and EHS graduate.”

The building is to be complete in time for this fall’s semester. It will be adjacent to the district’s Jon Davis Wrestling Center, which also was built with donated funds. They are part of the school’s Sports Complex, which also hosts football, baseball, softball, soccer, field hockey, wrestling and marching band.

The Complex’s jumbo scoreboard and artificial playing surfaces also were donated, as was a tennis complex north of the school.

 

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