Task force: build pool by rec center
The Fairfield Recreation Facilities Task Force voted unanimously Monday to recommend the city build an outdoor pool at the Roosevelt Community Recreation Center.
The members of the task force believe locating the outdoor pool at the rec center will save money because the outdoor pool will be able to share a bathhouse and other services with the indoor pool. The latest drawing the task force examined from Burbach Aquatics showed the outdoor pool immediately south of the indoor pool.
The original plan was to build an outdoor pool costing about $4.2 million and locate it at the same location as the former pool at O.B. Nelson Park. After the unincorporated areas of the county voted down a measure to contribute $1 million to the pool and gym project, the task force sought ways of reducing the project’s price tag. The task force and park board met March 12 and decided to scale back the pool project so it would only cost $3.8 million, as well as reduce the gym project’s price from $6.2 million to $4.7 million.
Burbach Aquatics created a drawing of a proposed outdoor pool that would fit within the confines of the task force’s new budget. The drawing, known as drawing 16, reduced the size of the zero-depth entry area and removed a few water features designed for children. However, the new drawing includes a splash pad, which is an area where water shoots out of the ground, which was not included in the original drawing.
Members of the task force said that demolishing the old pool and building a new one at O.B. Nelson Park would have actually cost closer to $4.5 million. Task force committee chairman Tom McMahon said he liked the idea of building near the rec center because of the significant cost savings. Jane McMahon, chairwoman of the pool and gym task force facilities subcommittee, said moving the outdoor pool to the rec center would be convenient, too, because swimming lessons planned for the outdoor pool could easily be moved to the indoor pool if it rains.
“I love plan 16,” Jane McMahon said. “It meets so many of our needs. It’s got the zero-depth entry, which is nice for toddlers and grandparents.”
Committee member Dan Breen said he supported the move to the rec center because “we have no real alternative.”
Chris Smith, project manager at Carl A. Nelson & Company, reported on the prospects for reducing the budget for the gym by $1.5 million. He said a few members of the task force toured a recreation center at Kirkwood Community College with the hope of building something similar in Fairfield. Smith said the gym in Fairfield won’t be as nice as the Kirkwood gym because of the budget constraints. He said the exterior of Fairfield’s gym would probably be metal siding to save money. He also mentioned that a budget of only $4.7 million for the gym might entail nixing the lobby altogether.
Smith said Kirkwood’s gym has windows so large that people inside can play basketball on a sunny day, even with no lights on. He said the task force wouldn’t be able to afford windows of that size.
“It can still be a nice and clean facility, but it won’t be like Kirkwood’s,” he said.
Tom McMahon said it was important for the task force to settle on designs for the pool and the gym because uncertainty surrounding the project has hamstrung fundraising. He said people are hesitant to donate to a project if they don’t know what’s going to be built.
At the same time, McMahon warned about spending too much money on designing custom facilities to meet Fairfield’s specific needs rather than opting for a pre-cast design. He mentioned that engineering fees aren’t going to drop just because the size of the project is smaller.
McMahon said the task force hoped it would be ready to present to the Community Attraction and Tourism board April 9. The task force has applied for a grant from the CAT board that could potentially be as high as $1.8 million, although the task force believes the grant awarded could be half of that or less.
McMahon said that given the changes the task force has made to the design of the pool and gym, it will not have the drawings and the figures necessary to make a presentation to the CAT board as schedule. He said the task force hopes the drawings will be finished in time to present to the CAT board May 14. He said the amount the board awards will not be known until mid-June.