City approves aquatic center change order

aquatic center rendering

During their Oct. 3 meeting, City Commissioners unanimously approved a fifth change order for $13,753.20 for the indoor aquatic center.

This change order is for framing, electrical and finishing precast walls within the offices and child watch area, according to the staff report.

The change will be funded through the city’s fundraising campaign.

There was no discussion amongst commissioners on the change or comments from the public.

The new indoor aquatics and recreation center is 45,000 square feet of new construction, set to open in May 2024, that will include a recreation pool, lap pool, gym, fitness center, walking track, multipurpose room, party room, locker rooms, restrooms, child watch area, lobby, offices, storage and mechanical rooms at 900 29th St. S. in a potion of Lions Park.

The city received a $10 million grant from the U.S. Department of Defense for the project that was identified in the 2016 Park and Recreation Master Plan. The city will match that with $10 million through the sale of bonds by the park district.

The facility will replace the Natatorium, which was closed in 2018 and is scheduled for demolition this fall, and once opened, the city will close the current Community Recreation Center in the downtown area.

The city dubbed the facility Aim High Big Sky during the conceptual design phase while pursuing the DOD grant but has named it the Scheels Aim High Big Sky for 20 years for the store’s $1 million contribution to the project.

During their Sept. 5 meeting, City Commissioners approved a fourth change order for the new facility.

The total change was $588,052.50 and included:

  • adding a ridgefold gym divider: $2,973.59
  • adding acoustic panels: $143,629.55
  • adding tile work in pool areas: $2,055.01
  • adding a kiddie frog slide: $47,754.12
  • adding a splash pad: $393,828.35
  • decreasing site and excavation work: $2,188.12

The changes will be funded through the city’s formal fundraising campaign for the facility.

In November 2021, commissioners awarded a $18.3 million contract to Swank Construction.

In March 2022, commissioners approved a change order that reduced the cost by $244,655 by changing materials. That change didn’t affect amenities, but changed materials used for a cost savings, according to staff.

In July 2022, commissioners approved the second change order for $91,029.58 to address plan review and permit fees and structural enhancements.

In June 2023, commissioners approved a change order for $116,680.25 to address structural enhancements and added more amenities.

Park and Recreation Director Steve Herrig told commissioners during a June 2023 commission meeting that staff would likely start formulating the fee structure in the fall, well ahead of the planned opening since they’ll want to start selling memberships beforehand. He told the park and rec board during their August meeting that the fees were still under review.

For more background on the new indoor aquatics and recreation center, read our previous coverage:

City Commission to consider indoor aquatic center change order

City receives $1 million from Scheels to name new aquatics facility

City to consider change order for new indoor aquatic facility

City approves change order for new aquatic center

Construction progressing on city’s new indoor aquatic facility

City approves contract changes for indoor aquatics center

City considering change orders for indoor aquatics center

City reduces cost for aquatic center construction; approves fundraising agreement

City reduces construction contract cost for aquatic center

City staff recommending $18.43 million contract for new aquatic center

City postpones decision on aquatic center construction contract

Staff asking commission to postpone award of aquatic center contract for more review time

City breaks ground on indoor aquatics, recreation center

City considering water main contract for aquatic center on Aug. 17

DoD finds no violation in city process for aquatic center

City budget approved; work on aquatics center continuing

Commissioners approve permit, aggregation and vacating streets for aquatics center

Commission holding public hearings on portions of aquatic center project during May 18 meeting

City Commission sets public hearing on permit for aquatics facility

City Commission scheduled to set public hearing on new aquatic center during April 20 meeting

City planning board unanimously recommends permit approval for aquatic center in Lions Park

City to receive $20 million in COVID funds; aquatic center plan updated; GFPD chief replacement process underway; Civic Center facade contract pushed to April 6

City, design team update neighborhood on aquatics facility plans

City continuing plans on aquatics center for Lions Park

Park Board supports aquatics center move to Lions; discusses visitor center lease, legislation that could impact park maintenance district

City proposes Lions Park as new site for aquatics facility