Costs of renovation, replacement of facility given and options discussed

Local parks and recreation leaders met Wednesday to hear the results of a recent pool feasibility study and consider recommendations for a new facility.

Members of the Crook County Parks and Recreation District board and staff attended the session as did several members of citizen-led pool committee as Mike Gorman, principal of BLRB Architects, and Ryan Nachreiner, project director for Water Technology Inc., delivered a presentation on recent findings and offered multiple options to consider.

Nachreiner began by pointing out the problems plaguing the existing Prineville pool, which was built more than 60 years ago. He noted that it had problems with its piping, valve system and filters. In addition, the pool surface is deteriorating as are the gutters on the edges of the pool.

He told the audience that it would cost between $640,000 and $900,000 to repair or replace the existing pool. Constructing a new pool with similar features would cost between $665,000 and $895,000, and building a new pool with new features would cost $750,000 to $1.2 million or more. Nachreiner stressed that all cost estimates relate to the pool and its mechanical and plumbing devices, not any associated structures like a locker room, front lobby, or other facilities.

Nachreiner told local leaders that before they consider their options, they need to decide what uses they want it to serve.

"Really, what we have to look at first is the purpose," he said. "That is the foundation of what ends up being built. That leads us into what activities are they going there for."

The group looked at several needs, concluding that they would prefer a pool that offered the opportunity for recreational swimming as well as competitive swimming events, exercise classes and medical therapy.

These needs prompted consideration of two separate pools, given that recreational swimming and therapy use tend to utilize one water temperature while competition and lap swimming is done is colder water.

Nachreiner stressed that changing the water temperature is not something that can be done quickly, so it would be difficult to offer recreational swimming one day and a swim meet the next.

Board member Casey Kaiser commented that it would difficult with a single pool to accommodate a broad range of uses and felt the idea of two separate pools should be explored going forward.

The audience also asked Nachreiner and Gorman about the cost of indoor pools versus outdoor ones and learned about removal coverings that cost considerably less money than a permanent enclosure. Gorman could not offer specific costs for any of the structures, given the fluid nature of material costs, but said it could be addressed in future meetings as plans develop.

Nachreiner also discussed pool features and trends at length, offering numerous examples of options local leaders could consider.

"Always, the goal is to try to maximize appeal," he said. "We want as many people in the community to enjoy the pool and participate in the pool as possible. We do this by making it as multi-purpose and multi-generational as possible."

Popular trends include zero-depth entry, interactive water sprays, play structures and water slides. Nachreiner noted that therapy and wellness pools is one of the fastest growing trends in aquatics, and recommended anchored floatables as a relatively inexpensive feature.

Of the features mentioned, zero-depth entry appealed to local leaders as did the possibility of water sprays and water slides.

Going forward, the Parks and Recreation District plans to seek public input and learn what different people want in a pool. This will include public meetings and other efforts to engage local residents.

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