A small group of year-round swimming parents met for coffee on May 6, 2002 to discuss the severe lack of aquatic facilities in the Triangle to meet the needs of year-round and high school swim teams and Wake County’s growing population. After researching facility costs and options, the group determined that there was a long-term need for additional year-round public aquatic facilities that would address the health, safety, recreation and competition needs of Triangle citizens and aquatic organizations. It was further determined that it was going to be difficult for Wake County and local municipalities to adequately fund and operate new aquatic facilities. Based on this conclusion, the group agreed upon a mission statement and began the long process of building what is now, the largest nonprofit public aquatic facility ever built in the country without one dollar of tax funding or subsidies.
TAC Incorporates as a Nonprofit Organization
The Triangle Aquatic Center incorporated on June 27, 2002 as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable organization with an initial volunteer Board of six members. The first set of Bylaws were drafted and signed on September 11, 2002 with subsequent amendments on December 1, 2003 and May 8, 2006. TAC received its advanced ruling for its tax exempt status on November 4, 2002 and its final determination that TAC is a public charity and exempt from federal taxation as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization on May 21, 2007.
The next step was to purchase enough land to build the first flagship public aquatic facility that would allow for future expansion to meet Wake County’s growing population. Tri-Properties President Greg Sanchez and Vice President Tim Capps donated their expertise and time to assist TAC in reviewing many sites throughout Wake County. On August 23rd, 2003, thanks to a land gift by the Jacobs Group, a $1,000,000 cash contribution from the Michael G. Curran Family Foundation and a $50,000 sales commission donation from Sanchez and Capps, TAC purchased 21.5 acres of land. The parcel was ideally located just 1/2 mile off a major intersection on I-40 and adjacent to the Town of Cary’s largest shopping mall, the Cary Towne Center.
Aquatic Facility Design Approved
With an ideal site location secured, the TAC Board began the process of designing and approving an aquatic facility that would address the health, safety, recreation and competition aquatic programming needs of Wake County citizens and aquatic organizations. TAC submitted a site plan and building plan to the Town of Cary and began having meetings with adjacent businesses and residents. On April 28, 2005, TAC moved another step forward with the final site plan approved by the Cary Town Council.
With the support of Wachovia Bank (now Wells Fargo) and the financial backing from the Michael G. Curran Family Foundation, a $10 million tax exempt bond offering was issued on August 16, 2006. An additional $7.5 million was raised from Wake County citizens, aquatic organizations, Corporate Sponsors and Foundations to cover the projected $17.5 million cost. Due to the significant increase of cement, steel and energy costs during this time period as well as change orders to permanently cover the ten lane 25-yard pool and enhancements to the aquatic facility, the projected cost to complete the aquatic facility increased from $17.5 million to $22.5 million. Wachovia Bank subsequently provided an additional $3.5 million line of credit and additional fundraising was completed to fund the additional costs.
With the financing approved, the TAC Board selected Raleigh based Clancy & Theys Construction company as the general contractor and Paddock Construction company from Rock Hill, South Carolina as the pool contractor. On June 17, 2006, TAC celebrated the groundbreaking with the Carolina Hurricanes mascot Stormy in the parking lot of the Cary Towne Center directly adjacent to the site. Speaking at the celebration was TAC volunteer President Michael Curran, Cary Town Council Mayor Pro Tem Jack Smith and Cary Chamber of Commerce President Howard Johnson. The ground breaking took place using hockey sticks from the recently crowned Stanley Cup champions Carolina Hurricanes instead of the customary shovels.
Grand Opening Ceremony
Exactly 2,000 days from the initial meeting on May 6, 2002, three of the initial six volunteer Board of Directors, Michael Curran, Carol Davis and Robbie Bell along with thousands of constituents, Strategic Partners and Corporate sponsors celebrated the Grand Opening of the largest public aquatic facility in North Carolina on October 28, 2007. Over 1,200 people attended the ceremony along with the Hurricanes mascot Stormy. Speakers included volunteer TAC President and Vice President Michael Curran and Carol Davis, Town of Cary Mayor Ernie McAlister, Wake County Chairman Tony Gurley, Cary Chamber President Howard Johnson and six time Masters World record holder, Sue Walsh. The “First Splash in the Pool” was won by thirteen year old Stephanie Calleja who completed a racing start off a starting block to be recognized as the first person in the pool.
The Rise of the TAC TITANS
After years of renting lanes to multiple year-round swim teams, the TAC Board determined that there was a need for just one, fully aligned and professionally run year-round USA Swim team at TAC in order to eliminate friction, consolidate resources, coaching and swimming talent and to make a national impact in the swimming community. As a result, the TAC TITANS swim team was founded September 30, 2012 and has quickly grown into the largest swim team in the Triangle. Thanks in part to the Triangle Aquatic Center and the TAC TITANS, USA Swimming ranked the Triangle region as the third best swimming community in the country.
TAC and the TITANS continue to be the TOP OF THE TRIANGLE. The TITANS won the 5 of the past 6 NC Swimming Short Course Age Group Championship, are current ESSZ Age Group and Senior Champions and the current NC Swimming Open Water Champion. The entire program continues to flourish under our nationally renown coaching staff. TAC as facility is still one of the top aquatic center’s in the U.S., hosting more than 75 events annually and hosts more than 510,000 patrons.
It’s Only the Beginning…