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City official: Pool needs to be replaced; council begins process to find consultant for project plans

Money for the Boulder City Pool is better spent replacing the facility rather than fixing it, according to Parks and Recreation Director Roger Hall

“It’s way past time,” Hall said about replacing the facility that was built approximately 37 years ago.

At that time, the new construction created the aquatic facility that augmented the existing 1950s diving pool, bathrooms and cover over where the wading pool was built. Overall, the facility was state of the art at the time, but now it is outdated and showing signs of disrepair.

Hall said some of the current problems at the pool include: The locker room doors and door frames are rusted beyond repair; the pool deck and bottom are cracked; the air support structure is ripped on the inside; the mechanical and electrical components for the pool’s systems are rusted and corroded; and the pool boiler is rusted through and will need to be replaced in the next year or two.

“This does not include buying items that are worn out,” he added.

Hall estimates that replacing the boiler will take approximately six weeks and cost between $60,000-$150,000, depending on the size and capacity requirements.

The Parks and Recreation Commission recently approved having the public works department send out a request for qualifications to hire a consultant for the new aquatic and cultural center. The City Council followed suit at its meeting on Tuesday evening by approving the request. This year’s fiscal budget has allocated $200,000 to hire a consultant.

October 2019 construction

According to its timeline for a new aquatic and cultural center, public works put out the request to hire a consultant in August and review submissions in September. Once reviewed, a list of potential consultants will be presented to the Parks and Recreation Commission for approval and then forwarded to City Council.

After an agreement is approved, the consultant will research the project and set a budget for it and its options. The master plan for the new aquatic and cultural center estimates the final proposal to go before the council in April 2018, and the design to be completed by June 2019. Construction would start in October 2019.

Councilwoman Peggy Leavitt said she appreciates the work done by staff on starting the process to build a new aquatic facility, and council members agreed that continued input from the community is necessary as the project progresses.

Since the Parks and Recreation meeting in July, the question of whether it would be a better idea to renovate the current pool rather than replacing it has been raised.

‘Too far gone’

“I think the facility is too far gone to repair,” Hall said. “It’s better to put money to a new facility that will be around for 25 to 30 years.”

Hall told council members on Tuesday night that it’s been very hard to keep the pool open for the past few years, and he expects it to get worse.

“I’m surprised it’s still in operation,” he added.

Recently, the wading and diving pools were closed for four weeks to replace a pump. Hall said the wading pool reopened Tuesday, and the diving pool should open in a couple of days after it is super-chlorinated.

If the city were to go the renovation route, the facility would need to be brought up to code in addition to repairing all the problems, Hall said. Currently, it’s been grandfathered in under the 1980s code from when it was built.

To bring them up to code, Hall said each pool would need its own filtration, heating and chlorination systems. It would also need a room for each of those systems or three large rooms to house them and keep each pool’s system separate from the other. The pool currently uses gas chlorine, and it would need to completely upgrade the system to liquid chlorine. Hall estimates that the pool in town is the only one in the state using gas chlorine.

Hall said the electrical system also would need to be replaced because it was built 37 years ago and is completely maxed out.

Increased costs

“Rebuilds are notorious for costing more,” he said. “I’m all for saving money, but why throw money into something … that may not work and then you’re stuck with it.”

At Tuesday’s meeting, residents agreed and voiced their support for a new facility, as well as concern for financing the project and maintaining it.

Boulder City resident Tom Clements agreed that he did not think the current pool could be brought up to code.

Ray Turner questioned how a new pool would be maintained, as the current facility is so damaged with rust and corrosion. He told council members that he knew there are protective coatings to prevent both of those things, and wondered how did the systems become so damaged.

“If the resources are not there to maintain it now, how will we take care of a new one?” he asked council members. “Why is that not happening?”

Contact reporter Celia Shortt Goodyear at cgoodyear@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow her on Twitter @csgoodyear.

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