Katie's Pool opens at Family Y

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It was like the birth of a child.

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The Kathryn M. York Adapted Aquatics Center is open at the Family Y on Wheeler Road.  Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
Rainier Ehrhardt/Staff
The Kathryn M. York Adapted Aquatics Center is open at the Family Y on Wheeler Road.

Instead of in nine months, Claudia Collins' baby -- the Kathryn M. York Adapted Aquatics Center -- came to life in two years.

The center's namesake was largely the catalyst for the community's coming together to create a pool for people with disabilities.

Collins, adapted aquatics director at the Wilson Family YMCA, and others celebrated the opening Wednesday of the aquatics center, nicknamed Katie's Pool, and celebrated Katie, who would have turned 23 on the pool's opening day.

Katie's Pool features a state-of-the-art, 34-by-60-foot swimming pool, with a 42-foot ramp and a lift system for individuals who use wheelchairs.

The center will offer therapeutic sessions to those with special needs, Collins said. Although the adapted aquatics program began in 2006, Katie inspired the fundraising campaign.

The Family Y adapted aquatics instructor died in May 2008 due to complications from viral encephalitis. She, like Collins, foresaw a time when their clients would have their own facility.

"The element she gave to the program was special, because she had a disability herself," Collins said. "She could connect with the kids in another way."

Katie influenced her clients and those who knew her long before she was diagnosed with the seizure disorder in 2005, said her mother, Melrose York.

As she clipped the hot pink ribbon to open Katie's Pool, York said she was reminded of her daughter and the commitment of the friends and family that helped raise more than $1 million in less than two years.

"We were so destroyed by this when we lost Katie," she said. "Our friends and family took on this huge commitment. She wanted this type of program to better the life of people she worked with."

Greenbrier High School students, Augusta Christian -- Katie's alma mater -- and others helped raised money for the project. The Family Y helped finance the remainder.

The fruition of the project is impressive considering the economic times, Mayor Deke Copenhaver said before the grand opening.

"It's amazing that this money could be raised," he said.

Jimmy Coxwell will likely take his first dip in the pool within the next week. The Thomson, Ga., stroke survivor started work with adapted aquatics staff about a year ago, and his wife, Anne, said she has seen its effect.

He cannot speak or walk, but he can now balance better and can get out of the pool on his own. Having the center will only increase his chances of improving his motor skills.

"I believe one day he'll walk out of this center," Coxwell said. "We praise God for bringing that young lady (Katie) across our paths."

Kathryn M. York Adapted Aquatics Center

The adapted aquatics center will be open to the public from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturdays, with physical and occupational therapists on staff Saturdays. For more information, contact Claudia Collins at (706) 922-9664.

Comments (10) Add comment
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thumper
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thumper 06/03/10 - 05:23 am
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Who is the Wilson Family Y

Who is the Wilson Family Y named after?

Martinez
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Martinez 06/03/10 - 06:14 am
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I just don't understand why

I just don't understand why they added this to the Wilson location where there is already two pools and too little parking some days to accomodate their existing traffic. I think the addition to the community and the specialized services this provides is great. I would just love to see more added to other locations because of the parking limitations at Wilson.

scoobynews
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scoobynews 06/03/10 - 09:05 am
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Martinez - wasn't there a

Martinez - wasn't there a pool idea floating around for Columbia County in conjunction with the why a few years ago? I think it got shot down which is a shame. I was just at the Wilson Y the other day thinking how great another pool would be at another location? The parking was awful and all I could think was how crowded it was inside and out. Columbia county needs to get with the program and realize that for those of us who can't afford to live in a neighborhood with a pool that we need a place to go even if it is just a water park.

scoobynews
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scoobynews 06/03/10 - 08:40 am
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On a positive note - I think

On a positive note - I think this is great for disabled people. I wish them all the best of success and I know that this young lady would be very proud to know she was this loved by the community.

Little Lamb
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Little Lamb 06/03/10 - 09:12 am
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Scoobynews wrote: Columbia

Scoobynews wrote:

Columbia county needs to get with the program and realize that for those of us who can't afford to live in a neighborhood with a pool that we need a place to go even if it is just a water park.

I agree with you, Scooby, but only if by the use of the term Columbia county you mean the citizens of Columbia County and not the Columbia County government.

Residents of Columbia County could gather and set up a private, non-profit corporation to establish a membership-only aquatics center. After completion, membership dues could be augmented by renting out the facility to swim competitions.

iletuknow
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iletuknow 06/03/10 - 09:54 am
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Indoor pools are brutal with

Indoor pools are brutal with hollering,screaming kids using the pool as well.

scoobynews
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scoobynews 06/03/10 - 10:37 am
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I agree little lamb except we

I agree little lamb except we may be the minority. I live on the other side of I-20 as they like to call it in CC. I pay HOA fees for landscaping so I am told. No pool, no park, basically nothing. I would gladly pay a members only fee for a water park for my child to enjoy.

redapples
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redapples 06/03/10 - 03:53 pm
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An aquatics center was on the

An aquatics center was on the ballot in Columbia County a year of so ago and was defeated.

Martinez
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Martinez 06/03/10 - 07:15 pm
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Admittedy some things in

Admittedy some things in Columbia County don't sit well with me, voting down the aquatics idea is one of them..... that and the complete lack of sidewalks in areas with dence family housing and schools.

angeleyes
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angeleyes 06/03/10 - 07:50 pm
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her parents must be so proud.

her parents must be so proud. i think that it is beautiful just like katie. may god bless her family

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