District begins work on aquatic center
SNOHOMISH - The eagerly awaited Snohomish School District aquatic center is slowly but surely taking shape, and concrete that will support one of its three pools started being poured late last month.
Aquatic center project manager Steven Moore said after the foundation for the facility and pools are finished, construction will start on the shell of the building, followed by the roof. Moore expects the roofing to be finished by April 2013.
“So far things are moving along pretty well,” Moore said.
The district had a ceremonial groundbreaking in June and is expected to complete and open the facility by fall 2013.
According to the city, permits for the facility were issued in September, and the project is “now moving forward in earnest.”
Absher Construction won the construction bid last summer. To get to that moment, though, the school district spent months tweaking the project to lower the operating cost and increase revenue.
In April 2011, the district discovered the project would not make enough money to operate the facility by as much as possibly $450,000. The district worked with Sports Management Group to come up with a revised plan that decreased costs and increased revenue.
A now demolished classroom at the former Freshman Campus is now the site of the future aquatic center at 601 Glen Ave., which will span 52,900 square feet.
The long-awaited aquatic center is expected to cost $21.3 million from start to finish, which is part of a $261 million bond passed by voters in 2008.
An important cost-saving measure to boost the project was the city’s offer to pay the facility’s water bill. The district briefly discussed building the pool in the county, which has lower water costs.
Ultimately, the city responded with a promise to pay the bill if the aquatic center were to stay in Snohomish because it is expected to be an economic driver for the city as well as a much needed recreational resource.
The estimated cost for the city is about $3 million over the 30-year life of the contract, which is the anticipated life of the facility.
City residents also will receive a 20 percent discount on monthly or yearly facility passes.
Kristin Foley, district spokeswoman, said she is excited for the aquatic center, which is expected to host a variety of classes as well as several unique amenities.
The center will boast a surf-simulation machine called a FlowRider that will likely serve as an attraction to younger residents. There also will be a shallow pool area to be used by toddlers for swimming lessons, a program that will be a “really high revenue-generating opportunity,” said Steve Moore, program manager for the district’s capital projects.
The facility will have three pools, one a competitive Olympic-sized pool with 10 lanes and another a recreational pool with a lazy river. Other features include a hot tub, bleachers for 420 spectators, locker rooms, family changing rooms and a water slide.
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