Keep some of the old but build a new pool
May 2, 2021
About a dozen people gathered in the pool house of the Alva Swimming Pool Friday night for a slide presentation and talk by Paul Barton, chairperson of the Pool Task Force. It was one of four meetings scheduled over the weekend. Other task force members present were Jacque Ruhl, Renae Green, Scott Brown and Brandon Sherman.
Copies of the engineer's report and the task force recommendations were handed out to those present. The report is written in easy to understand text with a minimum of technical language.
The pool is more than 80 years old, and for many years the state health department has "grandfathered in" aspects that violate current regulations. With major work needed, the pool and associated structures will need to be brought up to current standards for safety and ADA compliance.
The sloped entry ramp at the south end is at too steep of an angle. The pool can no longer have a diving board because the basin is not the right depth and shape.
According to the Oklahoma Historical Society, the historical aspects of the pool are the pool house and the gazebo. The task force hopes to preserve those. However, the bathhouse will require extensive renovations to make it ADA compliant. One issue is that doors are not wide enough for wheelchair entry.
The filter building has a failing roof that makes it hazardous to enter. That building is below the north end of the pool deck and supports the weight of that deck.
Then there are the issues of failing 82 year old concrete that is well past its life span. Acoustical testing indicates some possible voids or hollow areas beneath the pool floor. Pool walls are leaning in where they should be slightly leaning outward. The gutters will not skim properly because the guttering level varies an average of 2.5 inches around the pool. The list of problems is extensive.
The engineer's recommendation is to replace the pool while remodeling the bathhouse and keeping the gazebo. A zero-entry area dedicated to toddlers would replace the wading pool (basically a splash pad). The engineer also recommends site improvements including ADA parking. The estimated cost is $3.9 million. Barton believes that estimate is high.
A question and answer session was held after the presentation. Those attending were asked to fill out a short survey and tours of the pool were offered.
Task Force Recommendation
The task force has looked to what Hennessey did to replace their swimming pool as an example. They determined a budget and used that to decide how much they could build. Ruhl visited the pool and described it as "beautiful" with a splash pad, diving board and water features. That pool is being paid off through a sales tax increase that will go away after the debt is paid.
Here's the task force recommendation:
Based on the engineering report, it is the Task Force's position that the swimming pool shell and the systems supporting it must be replaced in order to create a facility that is reliable to operate, easy to maintain, and safe for the public. It is also the Task Force's position that the pool bath house should be maintained as part of the new facility. It will be remodeled as part of the construction project to meet the required ADA regulations. It is our desire that the gazebo be part of the new facility as well. The children's wading pool must be removed due to current regulations.
The Task Force recommends that the City of Alva pursue a campaign of private donations and follow the campaign with a matching grant application. Whatever funds are raised with these vehicles will become the budget for the new facility. At the time of understanding what that amount is, a new facility can be designed to reflect the budget available.
This strategy is similar to the one that Hennessey, OK, used in the construction of their new swimming pool facility. It appears to have yielded a facility that the community is pleased with and the City of Hennessey was able to afford within their time-limited expanded tax structure. The engineering report provides estimated cost to replace the swimming pool facility and remodel the pool bath house. These estimates exceed $3 million.
After presenting the engineering report to the community and collecting additional feedback, the Task Force recommends they be dissolved and replaced with a new committee or board, similar in function to the Alva Rec Park Board, in order to execute the fund raising campaign and grant applications. The board would oversee the construction project then continue to provide oversight of the operations of the new swimming pool facilities.
A video of the town hall meeting may be seen at http://www.AlvaReviewCourier.com.