The smile on Shelly Briggs Loosley’s face never seemed to leave Monday afternoon.

It was evident why. After all, the completion of a project she’d been working on for close to six years at the YMCA of Douglas County was coming to a close, and she didn’t have any trouble summing up her thoughts on the final outcome.

“This,” she said, “is one of a kind.”

Briggs Loosley was talking about the multi-million dollar renovation of the swimming pool at the YMCA, for which she was the capital campaign chairwoman. The project, which came into fruition in 2013, got its final stamp of approval on Monday morning.

The original pool, which was built in 1964, was reduced in size after it underwent 50 years of wear and tear. Many more amenities accompany the new pool, including a treehouse slide with a bear-shaped doorway and a spiral staircase that leads adventurers to the top.

A stone-composite wall solidified by grout surrounds the new pool, with a pair of dolphins greeting swimmers as they exit the refurbished men’s and women’s locker rooms. A pair of handicapped-accessible hydrotherapy pools, or hot tubs, sit behind the treehouse, with a shower sitting adjacent to the hot tubs.

A pair of basketball hoops are on the north and south ends of the pool, and a newly installed steam room is located in between the locker rooms. A viewing area, along with a catwalk, give an overhead view of both the new and old pool.

It’s a project that, over the years, had been envisioned but never expected to be completed.

“It was talked about and dreamed about, but we were never able to make it a reality,” said Bob Milton, the former YMCA CEO who retired in 2008 and was getting his first look at the pool on Monday. “You’re going to have children of all ages who are going to benefit from this for decades.”

The project was headed by Tom Pappas, a local contractor who has worked on projects for high-end clients like Disney and has also designed much bigger pools, like a 14,000-gallon splash pond for elephants at Wildlife Safari in Winston.

He said he was happy with the end result of this project, adding that the long-term positive effects it could have on the community could be invaluable.

“The focus for me when I took on this project was family,” Pappas said. “I saw this as a place for family events, a place where kids can learn to swim and parents and grandparents can have fun with them.”

A ribbon-cutting ceremony took place Tuesday morning at the YMCA of Douglas County.

Pool hours, according to the YMCA of Douglas County’s website, are from 5:15 a.m. to 9:45 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8:15 a.m. to 6:45 p.m. on Saturdays, and 12:15 to 3:45 p.m. on Sundays.

Jon Mitchell is a page designer, photographer and writer for The News-Review. He can be reached at 541-957-4214, or at Follow him on Twitter @byJonMitchell.

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