Archive for Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Council OKs swimming pool changes

October 3, 2007

The people have spoken and, because of it, the new Tonganoxie swimming pool will feature a separate toddler pool and an extra lane that will allow it to play host to competitive swim meets.

At a special meeting Monday night, the Tonganoxie City Council unanimously voted to approve $100,480 for the design and construction of the toddler pool. And council members voted 4-1 with Paula Crook opposed to approve $90,790 for design and construction of the additional lane.

Karlye Weatherford, who spoke to the council about adding the separate toddler pool during a Sept. 24, meeting, said the council stepped up to the plate on the pool.

"It's a great choice on the city's part that they will not regret," Weatherford said. "It will be something that will draw families with young children that were more likely to go to another pool."

Crook said she dissented on the additional lane because she was worried about leaving enough money to finish the project.

A $2.3 million construction bid for the pool was below original estimates, leaving more than $280,000 left from the $2.99 million financed for the project.

The new additions to the pool will leave the city with around $93,000 in contingency money, which Crook said is cutting it too close.

"We are not leaving much money for contingency at all," Crook said. "They don't know what they are going to find when they dig up the pool. They still have to do some soil testing."

Although going over budget was a possibility, Council member Steve Gumm and other council members agreed that Tonganoxie has had a good track record of projects staying below budget.

Ford Bohl, of Bohl and Associates, who helped design the pool, said the amount of contingency money the city has left is close to two or three times the usual amount he sees on projects.

Approval of the changes now leaves the city facing a question of how much more time will be needed before the pool can open.

Construction of the new pool began on. 17 but stopped when the council asked Sullivan Palmer Architects, the pool designers, to come up with a plan to add the extra lane and separate toddler pool.

Gary Davis, of Prosser Wilbert Construction Inc., the pool's general contractor, said the project will be delayed at least a week, but the total amount of time will not be known until later this week.

"It depends on how long it will take for me to get the final drawings," Davis said.

Nevertheless, depending on the weather, Davis is confident that he could get the project done before the Fourth of July.

Gumm said even if the pool were delayed a little bit, it would be worth it since they would be getting "a heck of a lot better pool."

Bohl made one final comment before the council voted on the change orders on how he was happy to see the city making these changes.

"This has been a wonderful group to visit with. You went under the right starts for all of it," Bohl said. "At this time we are very fortunate to be working with you all, and I am really proud to be part of this project."

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