Roland holds election March 5 for $3.1 million pool project

Ronna Lawless Staff Writer
A new pool design has been approved by the Roland City Council and includes a zero-depth entry, water feature, deep end and diving board. Contributed design

ROLAND — Roland city officials are asking voters to fund a new swimming pool and have set a special election for Tuesday, March 5. The City Council is holding an election for funding not to exceed $3.1 million. An informational meeting about the project will be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 6, at the Roland Community Center.

If the vote passes, fundraising and grants would be sought to lower the tax impact for Roland residents. If the city was to borrow the full amount, the tax impact for a $150,000 home would be $355 per year.

“While we understand that the cost of the pool updates will affect your taxes, we hope you also understand the importance of the pool to the community,” said the Pool Committee in a statement.

The current swimming pool is nearing its end. If the bond vote does not pass, it’s likely the pool will not be open for the 2021 season.

Upon inspection, the condition of the pool was determined to be very poor and in dire need of updates to remain open.

“The committee has set a goal of achieving the needed updates without having the pool closed for the season. That being said, those updates need to happen ASAP,” the statement continued.

Here’s a laundry list of the problems with the pool currently:

Pool Gutters

Welded joints are separating. They are stainless steel, so a qualified and capable welder has to be called in. They are able to weld and repair the visible side, but to repair the back side would require removing the concrete pool deck. The gutters are pressurized, so when the circulation pump is running the gutters are leaking. The joints that separate also cause sharp edges making a safety concern for patrons.

Cracks — A contractor was hired to repair 200 feet of cracks in the deep end of the pool. When the pool was last painted, a different sealing product was put over all of the visible cracks before the new paint was applied. The painting company stated that they have been working with pools for 30 years and this is the worst one they have seen. They don’t think that the concrete will hold up for another time of blasting before painting. Flex Seal was applied over all of the cracks. Another contractor repaired some cracking at the bottom near the drain. He said that it was much worse than he expected and had to use about double the product than what he had estimated. He expects the process to have to be repeated each spring.

Pipe Leaks — The pool deck has to be dug up to expose the piping to look for leaks. It takes the coordination of multiple contractors to expose the pipes. Not all of the piping can be exposed because it is under the pool. Only certain sections of pipe are able to be pressure tested. Multiple companies have assisted in trying to be able to pressure test more areas, but with the leaking gutters and open surge tank it makes it limited. Cameras have been run through as many pipes as possible looking for leaks, but because of multiple bends only a push camera can be used, and hairline cracks cannot be identified.

ADA — The pool does not meet entrance standards of the ADA. The bathhouse does not comply with ADA standards.

Pump House — The circulation pump and one of the accessory pumps has been rebuilt. The surge tank leaks through multiple cracks and seals. The chemical room doesn’t have enough space for proper separation of chemicals or secondary containment. The main ground wire shorted out and the pool had to be closed until an electrician could repair.

Other issues — Ladder welds are cracking. Lifeguard chair is not safe, a lifeguard has fallen off. Diving board is becoming unsafe; it is rusting and bolts have loosened. Fencing has become loose in different parts and needs tightened. Chemical controller went bad and has been replaced. Heater went bad and was replaced, have been told by different contractors that this isn’t the best style option for a pool. Bathroom getting sinks don’t have hot water. Water heater leaks and needs replaced. Electric in concession stand can’t handle microwave, popcorn maker, and freezer.

After surveying local residents about their desires for a new pool, the city decided to construct a new pool with the same footprint as the current one.

“That being said, the new pool would look much the same with a zero-entry, water feature (mushroom), deep-end and diving board,” the Pool Committee said. “These updates would also include changes to the pool house and concession area.”

With a long history of having a pool in the community, city officials say it is a draw for new residents to the city of Roland. Many young families chose Roland as their home because of the city’s pool. And that fact is important to economic development, they said.