New outdoor pools prepare to open at Uptown JCC in New Orleans

A splash gator awaits installation

As Memorial Day weekend approaches and school lets out, thoughts turn to swimming. With that, finishing touches on the new outdoor swimming pools at the Uptown Jewish Community Center in New Orleans are progressing “rapidly.”

On May 26, water was flowing into the main pool, with an expectation that the pools will be ready by the start of Day Camp on June 5. A grand opening event will be held at a time to be determined.

Leslie Fischman, executive director of the JCC, said the entire community is anxiously awaiting the opening, and the newly-named Oscar J. Tolmas Aquatics Complex will be a “cool place to spend hot summer days.”

The pools are the first tangible part of a major renovation and expansion for the Uptown facility. Construction will continue on the Goldring Woldenberg Sports and Wellness Complex, expanding the fitness facilities. Fischman said they expect it to open in early October. “In addition to expanded fitness/wellness studios, we will also have an indoor teaching/therapy pool for year round swim lessons and aquatic exercise,” she said.

The outdoor pool complex includes a 25-meter, 6-lane lap pool, and a family recreational pool with water features. “The new aquatics complex will appeal to members of all ages,” Fischman said. “The pools will accommodate aquatic exercise, toddler splashing, and leisure and competitive swimming.”

The aquatics complex replaces the L-shaped pool that was original to the building and over 50 years old.

Also being completed in time for Day Camp are two new pre-school and camp classrooms, along with the renovated downstairs locker rooms.

The 14,000 square foot expansion is part of an $8.5 million Building for the Next Generation capital campaign, which is still ongoing. This year’s JCC annual gala, scheduled for Nov. 11, will celebrate the campaign’s completion.