Pool plan finalized

Chad Frey
The Kansan
The design of a new city pool has been finalized, a project that was approved last year and saw demolition of the existing facility begin in January.

The design of a new municipal pool, targeted for opening this summer, has now been finalized.

July 28, 2020, the city  commission voted to move forward with a $3,042,000 project for both the reconfiguration of Centennial Park and a new municipal pool facility. The facility, located in the north portion of Athletic Park, is owned by the city and operated by the Newton Recreation Commission. 

The project had been discussed for about three years, with delays forcing the hands of the city in the area of the pool. Equipment at the facility reached the end of its life, with replacement becoming nearly impossible. 

“We have gotten to the point that there is no way we can open the pool next spring,” said Suzanne Loomis, director of public works for the city of Newton, in July.

The commission chose to enter into a design/build agreement with Dondlinger & Sons, Lamp Rynearson and Continental Pools for the pool project, with a maximum cost of $2.7 million. Since that time, design has progressed, demolition of the old pool and bath house have been ongoing, and final renderings are complete.

Demolition of the Newton Municipal Pool began in January. Construction crews will build a new pool in its place, with an anticipated completion in July, though weather may push the opening back.

"We were going through the design process as we were going through demolition as well," Loomis said. "Through the design process and as you go through the [demolition] you were able to figure out 'is everything underground where we think it is' ... and can we move the things we think we can move."

At Tuesday’s meeting, the City Commission received an update and renderings of the new Municipal Pool project — and learned that there will be a number of new features at the municipal pool when the project is complete. 

The project includes:

• Replacement of the existing pool with a six-lane lap pool with a 12-foot deep end.

• A zero-depth entry area, small lazy river, inflatables and climbing wall, spray feature, family slide and toddler slide.

• Renovation of the bath house.

• New shade structures and diving boards, chairs, lighting, fencing, etc.

• A spray pad

Now that most of the demolition is complete, costs were refined and a new runout slide was also able to be added with no additional cost. A runout slide drops the rider into a small splash area on the pool deck rather than into the pool itself. The runout slide will be taller than the existing pool slide, which will be refurbished and painted.

"This project will have three, actually 3 1/2 slides. The half slide is a toddler slide," Loomis said. 

The slide that was at the pool one year ago will be refurbished, while a family slide, a run out slide that does not end up in the pool and toddler slide will be added to the facility. 

"I am super excited about this," Loomis said. 

The only bad news on the project, she said, is that weather may have delayed the completion and opening of the slide this summer. 

The project was originally scheduled to be completed by the end of July, but colder than normal temperatures plagued construction in February, and now spring rains have begun. Weather patterns this spring will dictate whether construction can meet the original schedule.

The project will be bonded through the Public Building Commission, which is funded jointly by the City, Rec Commission and Newton School District.

In July the commission voted to make interest-only payments for three years on bonds issued for the project.

To pay interest only for three years, the Newton Recreation Commission and city payments would be about $28,000 per year for the first two years, dropping to $8,500 for the NRC and city with the Public Building Commission paying $40,000. The PBC would take over all payments in year four. It will cost an additional $95,000 in interest to make interest only for the first three years.