Archive for Thursday, April 28, 2005

Modified pool plans shared

Modified pool design wins Planning Commission’s approval

April 28, 2005

Construction on the new municipal pool is one step closer with the De Soto Planning Commission's approval Tuesday of modifications to the pool's site plan.

The modified design was necessary after the nine bids submitted for the pool all came in over the $3.4 million the city had available to build the new pool behind the Community Center.

Last month, City Administrator Greg Johnson got permission from the City Council to work with the low bidder, Vanum Construction of Kansas City, Kan., on ways to bring the project into budget. Johnson was aided in that effort by a pool committee of community representatives, Parks and Recreation members, city staff, Council members and Larkin Aquatic pool designer, Treadwell Jones.

The modified designs were shared with planning commissioners Tuesday. To find an acceptable solution, the committee looked for cost-cutting measures in three different areas: the pool itself, its buildings and needed site improvements such as sidewalks and parking lots.

As he predicted, cuts had to be made in all three areas, Johnson said. In total, the cuts reduced the project cost from Vanum's original bid by $360,000. That included a $71,000 contingency fund for unexpected problems.

Although the pool's features didn't escape the budget ax unscathed, Johnson said the pool would offer more than anyone envisioned when the design process started.

"We're still getting six lap lanes reserved for lap swimmers, a large slide, a separate diving area, zero-depth entry, a vortex pool and the shade areas," he said.

As it turned out, a key to the cost-cutting process was the elimination of a covered patio from the building that is to house the pool's plumbing. The shelter area was to be outside the pool's fence.

Not only did the patio's removal save $10,000 outright, but it allowed for the relocation of the diving well, which in turn eliminated the need for a retaining wall and a cost-saving relocation of the large twisting slide, Johnson said.

Gone from the design are smaller family and toddler slides, but there is hope they could be included. It was the pool committee's desire to put any unused contingency fund dollars back into the pool.

Much of the contingency fund is a hedge against finding more limestone bedrock than is expected.

"We should know fairly early how much site work needs to be done and how much of the contingency fund can be put back into areas we want," Johnson said.

One of the purposes of going before the Planning Commission was to seek its input on possible uses of the contingency dollars if they become available.

Planning commissioners were in general agreement that the two slides should be added if possible, but also advocated for three sidewalks removed for cost savings.

One sidewalk would circle a playground area, another would provide access from 84th Street to the rear parking lot on the east side of the Community Center, while the third sidewalk hugs the Community Center's west side on what is now a gravel lane.

Planning Commissioner Roger Templin called the sidewalks "critical" to the pool's success. Although he hoped they could be built with the contingency fund, the city could add them in the future on "cow paths" made by children headed to the pool.

But overall, Templin and planning commissioners were complimentary of the pool committee's efforts.

"We should publically acknowledge you guys did a great job," Templin said.

Johnson will now present the modified pool design to the De Soto City Council at its May 5 meeting. Should the Council approve a contract that night, pool construction could start soon after.

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