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Parks commission dives head-first into pool study

By Melissa Crowe
April 8, 2013 at 8:04 p.m.
Updated April 8, 2013 at 11:09 p.m.


The Options

Rebuild same pool

• Cost to build: $2.5 million

• Current capacity: 300

• Current admission: $1.50

Concept 1: 2,759 square feet

• Cost to build: $3 million

• Operating expense: $137,000

• 5-year projected attendance: 27,000

• Capacity: 220

• Potential admission: $5

Concept 2: 8,512 square feet

• Cost to build: $4.5 million

• Operating expense: $188,000

• 5-year projected attendance: 39,000

• Capacity: 382

• Potential admission: $5

Concept 3: 18,000 square feet

• Cost to build: $6 million

• Operating expense: $248,000

• 5-year projected attendance: 48,000

• Capacity: 666

• Potential admission: $10

Source: Counsilman-Hunsaker and Associates

A pool is a concrete-lined hole in the ground into which you pour money.

In the case of the Gary T. Moses Municipal Pool, the money is leaking out at an astronomical rate, and Victoria parks commissioners are out to find a solution.

The city hired two consultants, Mark Hatchel of Kimley-Horn and Associates and Kevin Post of Counsilman-Hunsaker, to study the area aquatics facilities and pinpoint what options will work for the future.

While pools or a water park could be viable, with concepts ranging from $2.5 million to $6 million, one thing is certain: The 30-year-old municipal pool must go.

"It's really past the point of a cost-effective repair," Post said.

The pool leaks about 5 inches of water daily, the plumbing is corroded and deteriorated, and some components have closed or been removed altogether because they are out of compliance with state codes.

Hatchel and Post met with the parks commission and Victoria residents in February and followed up Monday afternoon to report on their findings.

"We do about three or four of these studies around the state a year," Hatchel said. "The facility you would have built 30 years ago is not the facility you'd build today."

Parks Commissioner Lewis Neitsch said he supports addressing the immediate needs for a new pool.

To simply rebuild the existing pool would cost about $2.5 million.

However, Chairman Vic Caldwell said he would love to see the consultants' third - and most expensive - concept built in Victoria: an 18,000 square-foot pool with slides, splash equipment, a dive area, lazy river and more.

"I think the community could benefit from it," he said.

Furthermore, that concept could be a tourism draw for the counties bordering Victoria, Post said.

The second concept is estimated to cost $4.5 million and would include an 8,512-square-foot pool with play features, slides and a smaller lazy river.

While the first two concepts would need a city subsidy, Post said the third concept would turn a profit.

Caldwell said before any decision is made, the commission needs to identify which direction it wants to go.

"What are we building? Something that's going to attract tourists or something for the community?" Caldwell asked.

He clarified that the two objectives are not "mutually exclusive," but cost will play a factor.

Post agreed with Caldwell that it comes down to vision.

"You can have more pools with a lesser experience or a greater pool with a regional draw," he said.

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