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Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Renovations beginning soon at Aquatic Center

  • Prior to the start of the 2014 swim season at the Hannibal Aquatic Center, Andy Dorian, director of the Hannibal Parks & Recreation Department, was hoping the facility’s aging infrastructure would make it through one more summer.
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  • Prior to the start of the 2014 swim season at the Hannibal Aquatic Center, Andy Dorian, director of the Hannibal Parks & Recreation Department, was hoping the facility’s aging infrastructure would make it through one more summer.
    “We always cross our fingers when we turn the water on. Every year I’ve been here we’ve had problems. We’ve done everything we can to get by,” he said in May.
    And now with another swimming season in the books, the process of renovating much of the facility that the public seldom, if ever, sees will begin. In anticipation of the needed work, in April the City Council approved an engineering service agreement with Poepping, Stone, Bach and Associates, Inc., and Waters Edge Design for a sum not to exceed $86,400 for the design and renovations to the Aquatic Center.
    Overall, Dorian has budgeted up to $800,000 for the entire project.
    “It all depends on how the bids come in and when we get into the physical design, whether some of that is going to be higher or lower. We’re obviously hoping for the lower number,” he said.
    And while $800,000 is a chunk of change, Dorian is quick to point out that figure could have been significantly higher.
    “We were very, very worried,” he said. “The price tag for a new pool was anywhere between $3 million to $5 million, and probably would have been more toward the high end of those numbers. I don’t know what we would have done. I’m glad we’re not having to deal with that at this point and time.”
    After losing several feet of water in just a week’s time after the pool was closed in 2013, the structural integrity of the concrete in the pool basin was tested.
    “The fear was that’s where a lot of the water leakage was coming. They did several bore testings of the concrete and the old concrete in the deep end is actually still in really good shape,” said Dorian. “That was the line we were drawing. If that was bad most likely we would have had to tear the entire pool out.”
    Until it was determined the concrete was sound, some significant maintenance was put on hold.
    “What we didn’t want to do over the last couple of years, knowing this project was coming, was pump in a ton of money and then have our test show that the pool was completely shot. We’d have wasted all that money,” said Dorian, who estimates that roughly $100,000 of the project’s anticipated cost will be for deferred maintenance.
    Page 2 of 2 - Much of what will be addressed during the upcoming project – pumps, pipes and filter system – date back to when the pool originally opened.
    “It’s old. It was built in the ‘60s,” said Dorian.
     
    Leaking pipes
     
    Rather than losing water through the concrete basin, the belief now is that much of the facility’s water loss is occurring through the old pipes. Dorian notes that once the pipes are replaced water won’t be the only savings the Parks Department sees.
    “When we lose water we also lose chemicals, and chemicals are just unbelievably expensive any more, so we’re literally flushing money down the drain,” he said. “Being able to have not as much leakage and not as much loss of chemicals is going to be a big savings going forward.”
    Not all the investments made at the Aquatic Center will be out of the public’s sight.
    “We were worried we’d throw in a huge chunk of money and people would go to the pool and say, ‘It looks exactly the same as it did before,’” said Dorian.
    A fresh coat of jell will be applied to the slides. All the slides and spray features will be repainted, “so they’ll look like they’re brand new,” said Dorian.
    Some new amenities are also being considered.
    “What we decided to do is bid all new possible amenities as alternatives. So we will have a base bid on the essential improvements such as pumps, pipes, filter system and infrastructure repairs and then alternate options for a rock wall, playground area, etc.,” said Dorian. “This will allow us to see what the base bid costs and then decide, based on the budget, if it's financially feasible to add any new features.”
    The last major renovation at the site took place in 2003 when just under $1.4 million was invested to convert the pool into an aquatic center. While three slides, spray features, a pump house for new equipment, a bathhouse renovation plus many other amenities were added, due to costs, the project did not include renovations to the pipes, filter system or pool basin.
     

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