City approves $18.34 million contract for indoor pool construction
City Commissioners unanimously approved a contract to Swank Enterprises for $17.9 million for the base bid and $354,000 for a slide in the leisure pool for a total contract of $18.34 million for the new indoor aquatic and recreation center.
Coupled with the $1.8 million already spent on design and engineering puts the project about $470,000 over the $20 million budget.
The project is being funded with a $10 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense and the other $10 million by bonding against the park maintenance district.
The new facility, as proposed, is about 45,000-square-feet of new construction, and site work including excavation, new utility extensions, parking lots, playgrounds and landscaping.
Construction is expected to begin in the spring on the facility and be completed by the 2025 grant deadline. The facility is being built on a portion on Lions Park.
During the Nov. 2 commission meeting, Park and Recreation Director said the project’s impact to the community will be “tremendous.”
He said that the cost of building materials has gone up and is expected to continue rising, so city staff are working on fundraising and sponsorship options to fund the other alternatives down the road.
The recommended contract award will exceed the current project budget, but staff intends to use the city’s authority under its construction agreement form, once entered into with Swank Enterprises, to work with Swank to develop a deductive change order reflecting value engineering and other measures to better align the ultimate contract amount with the current project budget, according to the staff report.
Herrig said the city also has the option to push projects planner for year four of the park maintenance district to free up about $500,000 toward the pool project for one year.
That would also allow the Park and Rec department to catch up on current park maintenance district projects and then return to that list in year five of the district.
Herrig said that could be done without changing the existing assessment and there have been no public discussion at the city commission level about increasing the assessment amount.
Staff said they’re looking to bring project costs down and find other options to add the other alternatives during the project and Herrig said the facility will be constructed in such a way to allow for the addition of those alternative enhancements in the future.
An indoor aquatics and recreation center was identified in the Park and Recreation Master Plan that was adopted by the City Commission in November 2016.
The Natatorium was closed in 2018 and the city manager has said on many occasions that once the new facility is operational, he’ll recommend closure of the existing city recreation center on 2nd Avenue North.
Staff has said on numerous occasions that use and program fees for the new facility will be set by the city and will be designed to make the facility sustainable. Staff has also indicated plans to explore revenue generating options such as leasing concessions or commercial space within or outside the facility.
The former Natatorium, other city pools and the recreation center have been subsidized by the general fund for years.
For more background on the new aquatics center, see our previous coverage: