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Pool complex and Wetlands Park Visitors Center near completion

Two long-awaited Clark County projects — the new visitors center at the Clark County Wetlands Park and the Hollywood Aquatics Center — are slated to be completed and dedicated this year.

Hollywood Aquatics Center

1650 S. Hollywood Blvd.

Opening date targeted for late February or early March

With only a few details to work out, officials are close to setting an official opening date for the Hollywood Aquatics Center.

Planners chose the location to take advantage of the incredible view of the valley, and the nearly completed facility shows that they were successful. The mostly glass walls surrounding the indoor 25-yard-by-25-meter competitive pool and a side teaching pool provide a view across the valley, past the Strip to the Spring Mountains.

The view is the same from the 7,368-square-foot outdoor activity pool. The wrought iron fence is designed to protect the pool from trespassers while allowing a relatively unobstructed view.

A glass-walled indoor meeting room on the western edge of the complex provides views of all three pools, which already are filled with water and awaiting the first swimmers. The meeting room is set to host private meetings, birthday parties and other special events.

The pools will serve slightly different purposes, according to Sharon Cornell, the Clark County recreation programming supervisor slated to run the facility.

“The competitive pool will be used, obviously, for competitions,” Cornell said. “We don’t know which schools will be utilizing it yet. The teaching pool will probably be kept a little warmer than the competitive pool. That’s the way they like the competitive pool.”

A long ramp leads into the teaching pool, making it accessible to nearly anyone.

Outdoors, the pool includes beach- style entry, water splash features, a lazy river and two water slides. The water play elements are Hollywood-themed, with “stage lights” that dump water below them and a giant popcorn bucket that fills and every minute or so dumps a cascade of water onto a platform, creating an impressive splash.

The Hollywood Aquatics Center is slated to become the office for the county’s aquatics department, replacing offices that were at Sunset Park for the last two years and Horseman’s Park before that. Ironically, neither location had public swimming facilities while the offices were housed there.

Wetlands Park Visitors Center

7050 Wetlands Park Lane

Opening date targeted for late spring or early summer

Elsie Sellars, Wetlands Park coordinator, said park officials hoped to be in the new visitors center last summer, but she was sure they would be in during 2012.

The new center is approximately 30,000 square feet with an additional 15,000 square feet of decking. The decking is designed to give an elevated platform to look down on the wetlands. The areas the decks overlook have no nearby trails, so there’s a good chance to observe undisturbed wildlife.

“It’s really two separate buildings.” Sellars said. “When you enter, you’ll come to an information kiosk, and if you go right, you’ll go to the administrative building, and if you go left, you’ll go to the main visitors center.”

The administrative building is slated to house offices for staff members and volunteers. Two classrooms are planned, too.

The larger building is set to hold a number of amenities, including a store, a small research lab, an auditorium, a café and interpretative exhibits.

“We won’t have the exhibits up right away,” Sellars said. “But we hope to have them in place not too long after we open the building.”

Planned exhibits include an introduction to the park and exhibits highlighting the different environments in the park, the role and development of the Las Vegas Wash and early people who traveled through and spent time there.

“We plan to have hands-on activities,” Sellars said. “We will have a children’s area with oversized plants and animals that the kids can play on, similar to the ones already in the Wetlands Neighborhood Park.”

The Wetlands Neighborhood Park, on the west side of the park, is adjacent to homes and less wild than much of the rest of the park. It is also where the trailer that acts as the park’s current visitors center is housed.

“We’ve been in trailers for 10 or 11 years,” Sellars said. “Even with that, we get visitors from all over the world.”

For more information, visit clarkcountynv.gov.

Contact Sunrise/Whitney View reporter F. Andrew Taylor at ataylor@viewnews.com or 380-4532.

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