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FORNEY, Texas — The Forney Independent School District approved the construction of an aquatic training facility for the district's state-ranked swim and dive team.

The district says they are also seeking a potential partner to operate a community engagement program at the facility which would open it to the public for swim lessons, aerobics, club programs, lifeguard and military training, and fitness, among other uses — a plan which could bring the facility's maintenance down to little or no cost.

The aquatic training facility, which is still in the early design phase, is proposed to be built near the Tony Jackson Middle School and Tim Rhodes Intermediate School currently under construction north of Farm-to-Market (FM) 740 and west of Ranch Road.

"It's going to take our program to the next level," Forney ISD Swim and Dive Team Coach Jason Thompson tells inForney.com.

Just last year, the program sent five divers and a swimmer to the state swim meet — Skye Hoover, Micah Smith, Bryce Benson, Maddie Belobraydic, and Cody Senn, all in the 1-meter dive; and Andrew Gilbert in the 500-yard freestyle. Hoover would take home 16th in the girls 1-meter dive and Smith, a freshman at the time, took 14th in the boys 1-meter dive.

This year, the team expects the same results or better with Smith having the potential for All-American as a sophomore.

To achieve those accomplishments, the approximate-70 member team had split training hours and have bounced between different training facilities in Rockwall, Pleasant Grove, and Mesquite. Now, they will have a place to call home.

"An indoor swim facility here in Forney allows our teams to practice year round even when it is very cold," North Forney Girls Varsity Swim Captain Emily Hough tells inForney.com. "Having both morning and afternoon groups together for each practice will allow our team to bond and ultimately become more competitive."

While the project was approved by the Forney ISD Board of Trustees during their Monday board meeting, Forney ISD spokesperson Kristin Zastoupil says it remains in its early design phase.

In a presentation to the board on Monday, Forney ISD's Chief of Information and Innovation Kim Morisak said the facility would be a smaller but very efficient facility and would meet the needs of the team with 11 swim lanes and diving boards.

According to Forney ISD Superintendent Justin Terry, who announced the pool to the district's swim team on Friday afternoon, the district hopes to have the facility open for next season.

The facility was described as possibly being a glass structure with an early concept plan showing possible staging for bleachers, concessions, and restrooms, showers, and lockers. The district estimates the facility's construction cost around $5 million and would be paid for in cash out of the General Fund and not from the $623 million facilities bond approved by voters in November 2019.

More from Forney ISD on Friday's surprise announcement to the team: