Feb. 24 was cold and rainy, but the champagne was flowing and spirits were high in the parking lot of the Crown Center at the ground-breaking ceremony for the new King City Aquatic Center.
More than a decade ago, the KCCA Board of Directors came up with the idea of covering one of two outdoor swimming pools so residents could enjoy swimming year-round.
But the project wasn't done correctly, and over the years multiple problems, including mold and mildew developing plus an insufficient number of showers and commodes, grew to the point where the time finally came to deal with it.
"The board talked about redoing it five or 10 years ago, but they didn't have the money," said Denny Gelfand, KCCA board president. Now a reserve has been built up thanks to increasing transfer fees, which are 1.5 percent of the sales price of homes paid by buyers to the KCCA, thanks to the hot real estate market.
The new 6,300-square-foot building and amenities will cost $790,000; plus resurfacing the existing pool and installing new plumbing and electrical systems, pumps and an ultra-violet filter system will cost an additional $270,000, according to Gelfand.
In addition to a new two-lane lap pool and a 12-foot-round spa, the building will have three commodes in the women's locker room, and one commode and two urinals in the men's locker room, plus one commode in the family room that can be used by either women or men, Gelfand said.
"There will be five showers with one private one for women, the men will have five showers, none private, plus the family room will have a shower," Gelfand added.
"We have already paid for architectural drawings and the consultant to this point. We have gotten some but not all permits. We got really lucky because we had feared that we would run into asbestos in all buildings that we were knocking down but only found it in the taping paste in the equipment room, and that will be remediated."
He added that the cost of the asbestos abatement would be around $5,000.
The Crown Center includes an entry, large living room, kitchen, closet and restrooms, but "all power for the Crown Center building entered the pool area on the Fischer Road end of the pool building, so that all has to be redone," Gelfand explained.
In the past couple of years, the board has tackled a lot of overdue projects, including remodeling the Pro Shop, painting the exterior and re-roofing the Clubhouse and other buildings; updating the Clubhouse interior; adding Clubhouse parking lot lighting, and fixing sink holes in front of the Pro Shop.
"We did it all except for the Crown Center," said Gelfand, standing in the Crown Center living room on the day of the ground-breaking. "One of the big problems was heating this room. There was no insulation. And when they made the pool an indoor one, they put a double-layer bubble over the top but the top one blew off.
"In the summer, the moisture would condense on the ceiling above the pool and 'rain' back down on the pool, and mold was growing. It would get up to 100 degrees inside in the summer plus there was the chlorine smell. And with no insulation, we were heating the world in the winter."
A heat-recovery system will be installed in the new Aquatic Center; a dehumidifier will keep the humidity at less than 60 percent; and the ultra-violet filter system used to purify the water will mean 50 percent less chlorine can be used.
"Right now the water is purified 100 percent with chlorine, and the water and air have a very heavy chlorine content," Gelfand said. "The dehumidifier also cleans the air and takes the heat out of the air and sends it into the water, so it will reduce our gas bill along with added insulation. Our gas bill was $1,400 in December. Overall, the operating costs will go down."
The board set the construction schedule for the shortest amount of time that residents would be without a pool. In June the outdoor pool next to the Clubhouse will open, and the plan is for the Crown Center pool to re-open around the time the outdoor pool closes in the fall.
"This is the shortest amount of time we would have no pool," Gelfand said. "Some people really depend on them."
He said that "there is a lot of talent in this community which we drew on for the pool project. Between them and being able to finance the project, we are really fortunate we could proceed. Otherwise, we would have had to close the Crown Center pool permanently. Now we will have a whole new complex, and I think this will add 10 to 20 percent to people's property values."
Some residents have raised concerns about problems they see cropping up with the project, such as the cost of permits going up and if the living room part of the Crown Center can remain so close to the pool.
"Some of the issues looked scary at first but now they are not so bad," Gelfand said. "To satisfy fire protection regulations, we will have to punch a door in a room without an exit, which will add $500, and we may have to add a sprinkler system and lighted exit signs to the Crown Center, which will cost $2,000 to $3,000.
Gordon Lusk is the consultant on the project.