The Hood River Aquatic Center is holding on for dear life as the infrastructure, that still has many of its parts from the original structure that was built in 1948, is in need of a revival.
With the age of this aquatic complex growing older by the minute, Hood River Valley Parks and Recreation spoke to community members on Monday, Feb. 26 as they hosted a presentation about the pool’s current situation.
On Monday night in the aquatic center’s party room about 40 people packed into the small area off to the side of the swimming pool, with people sitting on the floor and standing, to show their support around the discussion about the pool’s current condition and what’s next for the complex regarding upgrades or replacement for the facility.
At the presentation, District Director Mark Hickok, Assistant Director Marcie Wily and board member Nan Noteboom walked through three different options the board has when it comes to a solution for the aquatic center’s many problems.
Option A: New building, same pools.
This option will have an upgraded existing pool system, renovated pool mechanical systems, permanent roof enclosure (all options will have this, as the current tent is insufficient and easily damaged from both inside and outside) and a new two-story building with locker rooms and lobby.
However, the downside to this is the lowest cost recovery of the three options (60 percent). What the cost recovery looks at is operation cost, as it takes revenue minus expenses to equal the potential of how much the new complex can bring in from a financial stand point.
The estimated cost for this construction is $13.5 million, the less expensive of the three options.
Option B: New building, new pools.
This option will have a permanent roof enclosure, a completely new and reorganized facility, a new two-story building with locker rooms and a lobby, new recreation pool and a new competition pool.
The idea of expanding the pool to a two-story building opens the idea of making this complex more than a pool, as it can act as a gathering hub for the community.
The estimated cost recovery of this option is 77 percent.
Compared to option A, this option provides a lot more space, new opportunities within the pool as two new pools would be constructed and chances for new opportunities outside of the pool for the complex.
However, this option is more expensive than the first.
The estimated construction cost of this project is around $17.3 million, the second highest of the three options.
Option C: New building, new pools and community fitness center.
This option involves is a permanent roof enclosure, new three-story facility with additional community and fitness space, new recreation pool and a new community pool.
For the community and the parks and recreational district this option provides the best cost recovery at 90 percent, a new and expanded locker room and lobby, larger and reconstructed pools, an additional third story for community space and a fitness area. The option will also increase the space for new and expanded recreation programs and create convenient access to therapy, instruction and recreation areas.
The downside to this option is that it’s the most expensive of the three, as the total estimated cost for this option would be roughly $20.3 million.
After processing each option, the community members were overwhelmingly pleased with the third option, as some felt it was time to either, “go big or go home.”
Currently, this pool that sits across from the Hood River Middle School has about three to four years left, and it might not even make it that long.
Recently, a group of investigators examined the complex and told the district that the current pool’s grade out of 100 was 44.84.
“We’re looking for a 50-year pool,” said Noteboom. “This one now was supposed to be 30 years and we’re way passed that.”
Although there was a great amount of urgency from the crowd on Monday night to get things started right away, one question that was asked from a community member was, “During this process, how long will the pool be unavailable to the community?”
Well, the answer to this question took some of the air out of the excited room.
Any of these options would mean a closure of the pool for somewhere around a year — could be a little less or a little more depending on construction.
However, gathering that air back that was once in the party room was District Director Hickok, who stated, “It’s important to know that the pool will be closed regardless, whether or not we close it, it will decide to close itself.” “We’re trying to get out ahead and plan this, but at some point, there’s going to be some major reinvestments, and this is it.”
As of now, all of these plans are just options since nothing has been finalized and with that being said, “we will be back,” said Noteboom to the room of supporters.
This was the first of two meetings, as the district also has scheduled a public meeting on Thursday, March 15, the location will either be in Parkdale or Odell. Visit www.hoodriverparksandrec.org/poolfeasibility for details.