Minneapolis to get new $90M sports center with Olympic-sized pool
With the Minneapolis skyline as a backdrop, the community Wednesday got an inside look at the new $90 million V3 Sports Center.
“Regardless of if you’re a swimmer or not, to have something of this magnitude in the community is inspiring,” declares Chanda Smith Baker, a Minneapolis business consultant.
The star of the show?
A 50-meter, Olympic-sized swimming pool — still under construction.
Once finished, it will be the only indoor public pool on the city’s north side.
An opportunity for young and old to not only enjoy a swim all year round, but also get instruction on safe swimming techniques.
“Water safety, just being active, just being able to be in the water, to be comfortable,” explains Malik Rucker, Baker’s son and V3’s Director of Community Engagement and Partnerships. “Because it’s a generational thing, right? If your mom or dad didn’t learn how to swim, it’s unlikely you will learn to swim.”
Rucker says the Olympic pool has had a long journey, after it was utilized during the 2021 USA Swimming Trials in Omaha, Nebraska.
“The pool, it was engineered in Italy, and it’s a steel frame, so it’s piece by piece, not just like poured concrete,” he says. “After the trials, they drained the pool, broke it down, put it on four semis, and hauled it up to Minneapolis.”
One of the goals here is to address drowning disparities.
USA Swimming, the national governing body for competitive swimming in the U.S., says nationwide, about 4,000 people drown each year and about one-quarter are under fourteen years old.
The Centers for Disease Control says the drowning rate within ethnically diverse communities is nearly three times the national average.
The CDC says Black children drown at a rate five times higher than their white peers.
The V3 Center is designed to be a place of safety and instruction.
“One of the goals is to make sure that our community has access to swimming and water programming and different types of ways to be safe in water,” notes Erika Binger, the founder of V3 Sports. “To cut back some of those barriers and the disparities but also to create a space for community and people to come together of all ages.”
Rucker, who recalls traveling to the suburbs to go swimming when he was a kid, says he’s excited to help in a project that will benefit young people.
“To be able to come back and give back to my community I grew up in, in this way is very meaningful,” he says.
The facility’s first phase, which will include a smaller pool, is expected to be completed in March.
The project will include a fitness center, a daycare and a restaurant.
The Olympic pool is to open in 2026.
Baker says she has high hopes it will make a difference.
“To be able to address a disparity that is solvable is fantastic,” she exclaims. “To be able to enhance it with the other things that are going to be in this building is remarkable.”