Pool’s future still uncertain
New pool estimated at $5.4 million
By Bert Lehman
The future of the municipal outdoor swimming pool remains uncertain as both the Finance Committee for the city of Clintonville and the Ad Hoc Pool Committee continue to discuss its outlook.
The Finance Committee met Jan. 9, and one of the items on the agenda was the progress the Ad Hoc Pool Committee was making in developing a plan to replace the city’s current outdoor swimming pool.
Finance Committee member Jim Supanich told the Finance Committee that the Ad Hoc Committee was “kind of stuck in limbo, not knowing where to go.” He added that the initial rough estimate for a new outdoor pool using some of the existing facility was in the $1.7-$2 million range.
“They were told to go back because there were a lot of unanswered questions about what type of pool they’d really like to have,” Supanich said. “That came back at $5.3 million.”
He told the Finance Committee members that the Pool Committee needs direction as to how to move forward.
Finance Committee member Lance Bagstad recommended that a representative from the Pool Committee attend a Finance Committee meeting and present the information the committee has gathered. Or the information could be presented to the entire council.
“I think there is a war being waged on social media right now about nothing being done about the pool and letting the ball drop,” Bagstad said. “We aren’t going to build a pool over social media. We’re going to build a pool with the people sitting down with the appropriate committees and the common council to move this forward.”
Supanich recommended that the Pool Committee be given a dollar figure that any proposal should come in under.
“If they come back with a recommendation that’s $5.8 million and there is no way we can finance that over the next 10 years, why waste the time?” Supanich said.
Finance Committee Chairman Mark Doornink said the city needs to weigh the cost of a new pool with other costs the city has such as repairing its streets.
“Do I want a new pool? Yes. That’s not the question,” Doornink said. “[The question is] what can we afford?”
Clintonville City Administrator Chuck Kell reminded the Finance Committee that the Pool Committee was budgeted with $10,000 to come back with a plan.
Bagstad recommended the pool committee present its plan at the February City Council meeting.
Jan. 17 Pool Committee meeting
When the Ad Hoc Pool Committee met on Jan. 17, it discussed a Rough Order of Magnitude Construction Cost Opinion provided by Water Technologies, Inc. (WTI). This cost opinion came to a grand total of $5.4 million. That included almost $700,000 for modification of the lap pool, $120,000 for faux rock and diving platforms, and $85,000 for a drop slide.
A splash pad was estimated at $402,880. Estimates for 11 items to be included with the splash pad ranged from $8,000 to $90,000 each. The most expensive item was a rain plane at a cost of $90,000. A fire truck slide is estimated at $65,000. Most of the rest of the items are estimated in the $15,000-$25,000 range per item.
A waterslide tower and flumes is priced at $275,000. Concrete for the pool deck is $222,600, with landscaping at $100,000.
Bathhouse renovation and mechanical space is estimated at $1.5 million.
The cost opinion also included $1.6 million for estimate contingency, construction escalation, contractor markup, contractor general conditions, and permits and approvals.
Stephanie Hintz, chairwoman of the Pool Committee, told the committee that an itemized breakdown for the bathhouse was not provided.
Based on his experience, Pool Committee member Brad Rokus said he didn’t think the cost estimates were out of line for the bathhouse.
“That’s just what this stuff goes for,” Rokus said.
He said if the committee wants a project that is serviceable, useable and fundable, the committee should consider a bathhouse that can be expanded in the future. He said phase one for a bathhouse could be locker rooms and bathrooms.
“We rehab the swimming pool, eliminate the spray pad and the slides, and do the pool as presented, you’d still have a product to be proud of,” Rokus said. “It’d still be doable for the community. It’d be easier to raise funds for that with your goal set in the future for expanding your bathhouse, and at some point start fundraising for a spray pad. But in the interim you will have developed a product that people can use and utilize.”
Hintz said the representative from WTI said if the project is done in phases the overall cost of the project will be higher because labor and material become more expensive as time passes.
“I don’t have the confidence that a phased project would develop into anything further,” Hintz said.
Rokus said the design presented by WTI to the Pool Committee is the ideal situation, but not one that can realistically be funded.
Pool Committee member Todd Mattes said the city should have been maintaining the pool in past years. If that would have been done, the city wouldn’t be in this predicament.
“When I first got into this I said we can’t just give them back what they have now, we need to make it something more,” Mattes said.
Pool Committee member Ryan Rockey told the committee that the reason some of the maintenance items weren’t done in the past is because it wasn’t in the budget.
“If we’re going to triple the size of our pool, and ask the citizens to pay for it, do you think the city is going to have the money to upkeep that pool, when it didn’t have the money to upkeep a pool a third of that size?” Rockey said. “We have to consider that as well.”
Rokus said a yearly service budget for a pool of this size needs to be requested from WTI.
“It doesn’t do any good to build it if you can’t maintain it,” Rokus added.
Rockey said the city received an estimate a year and a half ago, that it could upgrade the current pool to sustain it for another 10 to 15 years for around $100,000. That was before the fire in the bathhouse.
She added that this would give the city 10 years to raise money and look for grants for a new pool.
“This community has never shied away from fundraising efforts,” Rokus said.
“I think at this point, as much as it’s not the direction we want to go in, it’s our most feasible direction to get us to our end destination,” Rockey said.
Rockey also reminded the committee that a $24.9 million referendum for a new elementary school will be on the city’s spring ballot.
Hintz recommended the committee ask WTI for estimates on a scaled down version of the project. Rokus added that the committee should also request the cost of just rehabbing the current pool.
Rokus added that if the city ultimately doesn’t rehab the pool or build a new one, there is still a cost to remove the pool and reclaim the site.
He also added that the city is currently in a transition as it has a city administrator that doesn’t have a lot of ties with local businesses. The city is also looking to hire a new city administrator. Once a fulltime city administrator is hired, they will hopefully develop relationships with local businesses and develop long-range plans for the city.
“The planning process I think still needs to continue,” Rokus said. “But we also have to be realistic of what our obstacles are.”
The committee decided to request a scaled down plan from WTI. The committee also directed Parks and Recreation Director Justin McAuly to obtain an updated estimate as to what it would cost to rehab the current pool.
The outdoor pool facility was heavily damaged by a fire that occurred sometime in 2015. A Parks and Recreation employee discovered the damage on Dec. 21, 2015.