Secret Chicago | The Country’s Deepest Swimming Pool Is Planned for Chicago


The Country’s Deepest Swimming Pool Is Planned for Chicago


Measuring 130 feet, Diveheart’s planned North Chicago facility will offer adaptive scuba and scuba therapy for people with disabilities and veterans with PTSD.

The country’s deepest swimming pool could soon be built in North Chicago thanks to efforts from Downers Grove’s volunteer-driven nonprofit organization Diveheart.

Since 2001 Diveheart has been devoted to teaching people with disabilities and veterans suffering from PTSD how to scuba dive.

Founder and president Jim Elliott originally became a full-time volunteer teaching individuals with disabilities how to scuba dive back in 1996 before setting up Diveheart as a means of helping individuals build confidence, independence, and self-esteem through adaptive scuba and scuba therapy.

Now, Elliott is taking his altruistic vision to new levels, or more specifically, to 130 feet below the surface of Chicago.

Having completed a preliminary facility design, secured the second of two patents, and finalized a capital raise feasibility assessment Diveheart launched a $300 million fundraising campaign at the start of the month hoping to build a three-pool adaptive scuba and scuba therapy facility.

According to a news release on the Diveheart website, with the help of Lake County Partners, the organization “has chosen a site in Lake County, Illinois, because the location will benefit from the area’s immense life science and healthcare talent.

Now the pool’s cutting-edge design has been revealed and Divheart has kicked off its major fundraising campaign hoping to begin construction on the facility as soon as possible.

Dubbed “the world’s deepest warm water therapy pool” the facility will be “a worldwide destination for research, rehabilitation, education, and training.”

The main 130-foot “telescopic” diving pool will offer a confined and safe warm water environment to enjoy the benefits of deep open-water diving, all the while unaffected by the unknowns of weather, water movement, and other factors.

starter pool will reportedly offer somewhere to learn the basics of scuba diving in a classroom setting while a third Olympic-sized pool will be 20-foot-deep both of which will be used for recreational purposes outside of therapy and classes.

“There are many great types of therapy, but in scuba diving, we have the franchise on zero gravity,” said Diveheart’s Executive Director Tinamarie Hernandez. “It’s thrilling to help get someone out of their wheelchair and standing up underwater for the first time since their injury, or maybe for the first time in their lives,” she added.

The therapeutic diving center will take at least two years to build once funding is secured though Elliott and the team are seeking funding for not only the construction of the facility but also for an endowment that ensures everyone who can benefit is able.

“You have to have an endowment,” says founder Jim Elliott. “We want to be able to give scholarships to those who need it. You can’t do that without an endowment. Now is the time.”

Dubai is currently home to the world’s deepest recreational dive pool Deep Dive Dubai which measures 200 feet and Y-40 The Deep Joy located at Hotel Terme Millepini in Italy measures 138 feet but neither offer adaptive scuba or scuba therapy.

At the time of writing the campaign has raised just over $1 million of its $300 million goal.

Read more about the project and how to donate.