Pool project on schedule

Chad Frey
The Kansan
Construction crews have not allowed rain storms to slow the work on pool renovations at the Newton Municipal Pool. At this time, they expect to have construction complete July 31.

Brian Bascue makes a visit to Athletic Park — and a construction site on the north west corner of the park — almost every day. The superintendent of the Newton Recreation Commission likes to check on the progress of renovations to the city-owned pool operated by the recreation commission. 

And, he is excited. 

"When the citizens see this, it will look like a new facility to them other than the building its self," Bascue said. "It is exciting, watching the things that are new that they are building on."

The project was originally scheduled to be completed by the end of July, but colder than normal temperatures plagued construction in February, and now rains have begun.

"We met with them last week and at that time they were still on schedule," Bascue said. "The rains came this week, but they have still been working through this rain."

The goal for completion is July 31. 

"Pool construction is progressing in between rain showers. It might affect the schedule, but we will have to see what the next few weeks brings," said Erin McDaniel, director of public information for the city of Newton. 

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 city 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.

Bascue expects the facility to really start taking shape in June. 

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

• A "walkout slide"

A new lazy river at the Newton Municipal Pool is taking shape as crews work on renovations approved last year.

Those new features will lead to more lifeguards on staff. 

"We are going to have to add more guards on duty at one time because of the lazy river and the additional slide. We will have to add four guards at one time," Bascue said. 

The rec commission has been hiring lifeguards, namely because swimming lessions will begin in June, taught at the high school's indoor pool.

The pool 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.