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Community pool to be ready by summer

Danielle Ryan

(3/16) Last year the town of Emmitsburg was faced with the decision to close the community pool for the summer in order to complete much-needed renovations to the 40+ year-old pool. Make N Waves, the pool contractor, assured town staff that the renovation is on track for completion well before the pool’s opening date on May 26. During the March Town meeting, the Board of Commissioners voted on a pool management company for the upcoming summer pool season.

The pool renovation began in November 2016, after the town received a $217,000 grant and approval from the Board. The original bid estimate for repairs to the pool came in at $123,000, but costs quickly added up as numerous problems were encountered throughout the renovation.

At the time of the bid, there were some unknown costs, which foremost included the repair of a major leak. Additionally, after running several tests town staff was informed that there were several faults in the plumbing lines, and the entire plumbing apparatus was not up to code. The pool also sustained some beam damage, and an overwhelming number of cracks in the pools’ plaster caused major concern. Four layers of plaster were surrounding the pool, all of which would need to be removed in order to continue with the demolition. The Board was then faced with the decision to continue with the renovation, or completely budget a brand new pool. A brand new pool was estimated to cost approximately $369,000. Adding in the money already spent on the project at the time, a new pool would cost upwards of $425,000.

Unfortunately the added costs didn’t stop there. The Board voted to have lights installed inside the pool, and also approved necessary repairs that continued arising. These repairs included the repair of the underground spring that was found during demolition, the construction of an additional wall in the pump room and additional electrical work due to the corrosion of the electrical panels. Additionally, the town has to make some repairs that fall outside the pool reconstruction in order to be allowed to open the pool. These repairs include: a new roof over the pool house, which costs approximately $17,000, the installation of a new exhaust fan, extending the height of the fence that borders Christ Community Church, and fixing the retaining wall along West Lincoln.

In order to account for all the added costs, the Town had to find ways to fund what was not covered in the $217,000 grant, a cost of approximately $274,000. Luckily, the town was able to completely fund the remainder of the project in house. $207,500 was funded through fund 2 and recently a $66,300 budget transfer was made from overflow revenue in the FY17 budget.

In order to open the pool this summer, the Board of Commissioners had to approve a pool management company for the upcoming season. Only two bids were received: USA Pools of Maryland in the amount of $58,086 and RSV Pools Inc. for $54,489. Staff recommended the lower bid from RSV Pools. This company was hired for the 2016 pool season and staff, residents and visitors noted that they were a great company all around. As included in the contract, the pool will open May 26 and will close on September 3 with operating hours between 12 p.m. – 7 p.m. The pool company will staff five lifeguards on duty. However, this company will not be responsible for the winterization of the pool. Make N Waves will be handling the winterization, since the majority of the issues came from improper winterization by other management companies.

"This was a large investment by the town," stated Commissioner President Tim O’Donnell. "In the past we have had challenges with staff and visitors of the pool, and we want to ensure this is a safe environment for those visiting the pool." The pool contract was accepted unanimously and Town Manager Cathy Willets noted that the pool would be complete well before the opening date.

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