Business

Expanded North Liberty scuba site set to debut this summer

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NORTH LIBERTY — Construction of a new diving facility, which promises to be “the most advanced aquatics center in the area,” is set to begin in North Liberty this week.

The 8,500-square-foot building by Diventures, a swim and scuba center, is planned for the southeast corner of West Penn Street and Penn Court. A groundbreaking ceremony is scheduled for Thursday.

The facility will include an 88-degree pool, classrooms and a shop flush with high-end scuba gear, according to a news release from Diventures, a swim and scuba center that has operated out of a much smaller strip mall space in North Liberty for two years.

“We’re excited to be a bigger presence in North Liberty,” Diventures store manager JoAnn Haack told the North Liberty City Council when it approved the project in October. All Diventures’ operations will relocate to the new space.

Scuba is the main focus of the business, Haack said, though the company also will provide swim lessons and space for Alzheimer’s and arthritis therapy in the 88-degree pool. The North Liberty business typically plans about 30 group scuba trips per year and sells and services gear.

Haack previously told The Gazette that Diventures “is all about trying to find underserved markets,” which helps explain its focus on the Midwest. In nearby Cedar Rapids, Ocean Reef scuba operates a scuba storefront and offers lessons and certification courses.

Designs for the building, developed by H Design Group in Springfield, Mo., show a modern structure set back from the street and landscaping features.

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“I think it’s everything that we’ve been talking about for some time,” City Planner Dean Wheatley told council members. “I can’t really think of anything that could have been a better application, frankly, for this site.”

The new facility, at 1895 W. Penn St., is expected to open this summer.

l Comments: (319) 398-8330; molly.duffy@thegazette.com

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