By KAYLEY FORSHEY
THE WATER’S FINE: Miller Swim School will open a second location, shown here in an architectural rendering, in Jenks next Spring. Miller Swim School has been teaching children to swim since 1960.
With a friendly “Come on in, the water’s fine,” Miller Swim School is expanding to the city of Jenks. A few years in the making, Miller Swim School will be ready to open their second location in the spring of 2019, located on 91st and Elwood Ave.
The school’s swim team presented the idea, a project called Miller Swim School West, four years ago with the dream of expanding their influence. Sarah Clavin, director of marketing and communications and granddaughter of founders Larry and Rita Miller, has been involved in the project from its beginning, though she has been working with Miller Swim since she was 15. After looking at a few different locations, including a building in Owasso, Miller Swim School found its second home in Jenks.
“We found that a lot of families were saying ‘I live on the west side of Tulsa, closer to Jenks. I want to come, but we can’t make the drive to your current location.’” The school system in Jenks is also growing, and we want to serve an underserved area,” she said. “There are lots of young families there, and that’s the age range that needs swim lessons, that need water safety education the most. We’re hoping to reach an unreached group.”
The Jenks location is currently under construction, but will include amenities like an all-glass, sound-proof waiting room for parents and guardians, individual family dressing rooms and a kid-friendly vibe throughout the facility. After the groundbreaking in January, construction steadily progressed. Currently, the pool is dug, the parking lot is paved and the Miller Swim School Jenks location is well on its way to being completely finished—all that’s needed are the walls, which will be put up in mid November.
“When you walk into the facility, we’ll have one big, long observation room with glass, floor to ceiling. The first thing you’ll see when you walk in will be the pool. We’ll have showers on the deck with a really pretty art feature. It’s going to be bright, it’s going to be colorful, it’s going to be family friendly. It’s going to be really neat,” Clavin said.
The second location is an extension of the Miller family’s mission: “…to build a safer community, through swim lessons, water safety education and drowning prevention.”
The Miller Swim School team has been teaching children to swim since 1960. The Millers themselves were school teachers and coaches for Tulsa Public Schools before they began giving swim lessons in the summers, growing their team and business.
“In the summer, they started managing a pool and while they were managing it, they realized how many kids couldn’t swim,” Clavin said. “They knew about swimming and coaching swimming, so they sort of began teaching swimming lessons. It just grew and grew and grew because there was such a need. No one in town was doing that.”
The Miller Swim team soon began renting out public pools for their swim lessons before opening the Miller Swim School facility on South Mingo Road 23 years ago. Currently, the school rents outdoor pools in Broken Arrow and Owasso to provide swim lessons, as well as managing its current indoor facility year-round.
“[The Millers] saw a need in the community and went with it,” Clavin said.
The team can continue meeting community needs for water safety training and swim lessons with their new location.
The Miller families’ dedication to the project, along with the support and hard-work of their staff, will find it pay off in March 2019, when Miller Swim School Jenks location opens its doors with a splash.
The new location is now accepting charter memberships, available at millerswimschool.com, and enrollment will be open in February 2019. The official date for the school opening has yet to be announced, but according to Clavin, they will be hosting a family fun day with food trucks, inflatables and a very special guest, sports announcer and former Olympian Rowdy Gaines, to celebrate the location opening. So, keep the swimsuits and goggles ready.