City Commission set to select design for aquatics facility on Oct. 13

The City Commission has called a special meeting for 5:30 p.m. Oct. 13 to select a proposal for the planned Aim High/Big Sky aquatics and recreation facility.

The city received 10 proposals for the design and construction of the project and a selection committee reviewed and ranked those proposals. The selection interviewed the top three proposal teams this week and will present their recommendation to the City Commission at the Oct. 13 meeting.

[Request for proposal documents are here]

Since interviews hadn’t been completed by the time the city posted the staff report for the special meeting, the recommendation and reasonings aren’t included in the meeting documents yet.

The Aim High/Big Sky project is an estimated $20 million indoor aquatics and recreation facility in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Defense. 

The city was awarded a $10 million grant from the DoD for the project and will use park district funds to pay debt service on a bond for the city’s $10 million match.

The details of the bond have not yet been finalized and will require a separate action by the City Commission.

During their Oct. 6 meeting, they approved a resolution allowing the city to reimburse itself for costs incurred on the project before the bond is issued. So far, no costs have been incurred, but hiring the design contractor would start to be a cost to the city before the bond is issued.

Commissioners could opt to delay awarding the design contract to ask for additional information, but staff isn’t recommending that since the grant program has an expedited schedule and construction has to begin within a year of the grant award, which was September 2020, and be completed within five years.

For more background on the proposed aquatics facility, see our previous coverage:

City received 10 proposals for aquatics center design; will interview top 3

Resolution related to financing joint indoor aquatics center on Oct. 6 Commission agenda

City has been awarded $10 million grant for indoor aquatics facility

City, GFPS planning land swap for aquatics facility, parking

City, GFPS discussing possible parkland swap for proposed aquatics facility

City seeking proposals for aquatics project

Great Falls one of 16 invited to formally apply for DOD grant for new aquatics facility

Commission votes to apply for $10 million federal grant for joint aquatics facility; use park district funds to match

City, Malmstrom partnering for grant for potential new, joint indoor aquatics facility

Park and Rec updates: Contract awarded to fix trail slide; park projects continuing; more on proposed joint pool facility

City continuing to pursue grant for joint, indoor pool with Malmstrom; local firms donate services for initial concept, application

Usage lower at smaller Mustang Pool; city still working on Natatorium replacement, demolition plans

City working to use MSDB pool as alternative while replacing Natatorium

Citizens ask to save Natatorium; city plan remains closure by Dec. 31

Commission adopts budget, including intent to raise taxes and plan to close Natatorium

Proposed city budget would close Natatorium, potentially a golf course

City looking at costs, options to repair Natatorium, Civic Center, wave rider

Park and Rec progressing with park district projects; trail repairs; pandemic changes

With savings on park district projects, staff working to complete additional projects this year

Park district projects underway

After ballot approval, City Commission must next approve resolution to create park district