Wavering pool renovation likely to be element of Park District comprehensive plan

Wavering pool renovation likely to be element of Park District comprehensive plan

Posted: Dec 09, 2011 9:41 AM EST
Updated: Dec 09, 2011 11:25 AM EST

Blake Herman comes down the giant slide at Wavering Aquatic Center, gaining momentum by going side to side before flipping out of the slide into the pool in this July 2010 file photo. (H-W Photo/Michael Kipley)

By STEVE EIGHINGER
Herald-Whig Staff Writer

Wavering Aquatic Center will likely be one of the focal points of the Quincy Park District’s comprehensive plan for the coming five years. The plan is expected to be formally approved at Wednesday’s Park Board meeting. The primary concept of the plan is to provide a structure for the district to accomplish as much as possible — within its resources — over the next five years.

Wavering will be one of the key items for the district to contend with in trying to stay within its resources. The pool is 30 years old and is showing expensive signs of aging. An underground water leak last summer was a prime example, said Mike Bruns, director of program services for the district. Before the leak was fixed, the normal seasonal water bill of about $8,500 jumped to $20,000. “Wavering is 30 years old, which is pretty much the life expectancy for a public pool,” Bruns said. “We need to start planning now to either renovate or build a new one.”

Renovation seems to be the choice, district Executive Directory Dan Gibble said, and the comprehensive plan provides a blueprint for work to begin in 2016, or possibly as early as fall 2014. Between now and then, there will need to be some short-term repairs, but the major work would be done in three to five years. Much of the initial work will simply be cosmetic, Gibble said. A new pool with the current amenities found at Wavering would cost about $5 million. The renovation that is likely needed will cost between $2 million and $4 million. “A pool is like an older car,” Gibble said. “The older it gets, the more things there are that will need to be fixed. The consensus is to renovate, not build a new pool. We’re looking to rip everything out, but the renovation would include adding some new features.”

In a community survey commissioned by the park district earlier this year, only 17 percent of respondents who use Wavering gave the condition of the facility an “excellent” rating. In comparison, 41 percent rated the condition of Indian Mounds as “excellent.” Indian Mounds was renovated in 2003, and its popularity has skyrocketed since, especially with families who have younger children. Since Indian Mounds was renovated, it has seen a 34 percent increase in attendance. In that same period, Wavering’s attendance has dropped 28 percent. Teens and young adults still tend to favor Wavering, according to the community survey. Its most popular features are a 230-foot water slide and a sand volleyball area. Families with younger children lean toward Indian Mounds because of its facilities for kids are all located in the same area. Its zero-depth entry site is also popular for youngsters.

Potential new features at Wavering could include a climbing wall, zero-depth entry, a splash pad area and another type of slide. One of the diving boards could be eliminated. “One of the first things we will be doing is getting a complete professional assessment of Wavering — the heating unit, pumps, concrete infrastructure, etc. — that will help us develop a plan,” Gibble said. Interested citizens, staff and board members also will provide insight that will help develop a cost estimate, Gibble said. “We have to get things in place,” Bruns said.

— seighinger@whig.com/221-3377

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