EDWARDSVILLE – The Chuck Fruit Aquatic Center will be dedicated at 1 p.m. Sunday on the grounds of the District 7 Sports Complex.
The center was built as a result of a $4 million donation by Sharon Fruit, president of the Charles & Sharon Fruit Foundation and a 1965 graduate of Edwardsville High School, and $1.3 million in donations from other community donors.
Superintendent Ed Hightower said the opening of the center is a significant milestone in the history of District 7.
“A pool has been part of the community’s vision for Edwardsville High School for more than 20 years. We wouldn’t be here today without the generosity of Mrs. Sharon Fruit, president of the Charles & Sharon Fruit Foundation, and other community donors, including Gordon and Holly Broom; Randy Gori and Barry Julian, of Gori Julian Associates; Robert L. Plummer and family; Larry and Sue Hepler; Mark Shashek and family; and Scott and Brenda Plocher who donated the remaining $1.3 million to complete the Chuck Fruit Aquatic Center,” Hightower said.
Charles B. Fruit, known as “Chuck” to friends and family, was a 1965 graduate of Edwardsville High School. He attended Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts, and graduated in 1969. He was a swimmer and diver throughout his high school and college years. Fruit was senior vice president of Coca-Cola, with responsibilities in world-wide sports, global media, and entertainment marketing. He was recognized around the world as a media and sports marketing visionary.
Hightower said, “Chuck Fruit’s lifelong love and passion for swimming are well represented in the Chuck Fruit Aquatic Center.”
The Chuck Fruit Aquatic Center is only the second Olympic size indoor swimming facility in the St. Louis metropolitan area. “It is believed that the facility will have far reaching effects on the local economy and will be a major benefit to the St. Louis region,” Hightower said.
Special guests for the grand opening will include Frank Viverito, president of the St. Louis Sports Commission; Dr. Marty Hickman, executive director of the Illinois High School Association; and Randy Julian, sport development consultant for USA Swimming in Colorado Springs, Colo.
Hightower said that the community is pleased that the St. Louis Sports Commission will be partnering with the Edwardsville School District. “The St. Louis Sports Commission is responsible for sporting events that enhance the area’s quality of life and generate economic and social benefit for the St. Louis region, including hosting major events such as the NCAA Men and Women’s Final Fours, the U.S. Figure Skating Championship, and the U.S. Olympic Diving Trials.”
Hightower added that it was also exciting to see representatives from USA Swimming touring the Chuck Fruit Aquatic Center. “They had many enthusiastic comments regarding plans for our facility to be used as a USA Swimming site,” Hightower said.
Dr. Marty Hickman, executive director of the Illinois High School Association, will be on hand Sunday to formally present Edwardsville High School with its first girls’ high school sectional finals. The ceremony will also include the Edwardsville High School girls and boys swim teams conducting a swimming exhibition.
on Sunday, tours begin at 11 a.m.; the dedication begins at 1 p.m.