Tweaks made to aquatic center plans to stay in budget

The Caledonia City Council is supportive of key planning design updates for the proposed $1.7 million Caledonia Area Family Aquatic Center to replace the current pool.

The SOS (Support Our Swimming Pool) capital campaign is fundraising from private individuals, businesses, organizations and foundations along with a $400,000 pledge from the City of Caledonia.

According to architect Tom Schaefer of USAquatics, “Research shows incorporating large water slides, fountains, climbing walls, zero depth entry and other water features into a pool’s design proves extremely popular for recreational users. Outdoor aquatic centers attract and draw larger crowds. People will come from a further distance and stay longer. This helps sell more admissions and increase revenue to aid cities in cost effective operations.”

Jim Hoscheit, who serves on the cabinet committee said, “The council and campaign cabinet members strongly believe the center must be built with the key features that make it fun and profitable for the city now while we have mobilized enthusiastic volunteers.”

“By minimizing the zero depth area by 150 square feet, we were able to save $150,000 while still providing a zero depth area comparable to other area aquatic centers.   With cost savings from reducing that area, and a few other tweaks, we are able to stay under the total threshold of $1.7 million but still offer the fun factor visitors look for in an aquatic center.”

Aquatic centers can generate up to 25 to 30 percent more revenue than a comparable conventional pools. The key to success is intergenerational use in a quality facility that has an exciting and vibrant feel in an outdoor atmosphere.  Some of the changes are:

• Adding a large, 150 foot water slide at approximately $190,000 without increasing the $1.7 million campaign;

• Redistributing the zero-depth area from 3,767 square feet to 2,267, which is still 30 percent of the entire project and is similar or larger than most area aquatic centers at a savings of $150,000;

• Removing the colored concrete, which has aesthetic appeal; however, funds are better used for features that attract visitors from Caledonia and the surrounding area at a savings of $10,390;

• Replacing one of the smaller slides; and

• Adding a one meter diving board as funds allow at approximately $8,000.