By GREG RUSSELL, Register Staff Writer
Gainesville Daily Register
Gainesville’s city pool is on a fast track to becoming rubble, with crews aiming to clear the Leonard Park site by December and make way for a new water facility scheduled for a June opening.
Parks and Recreation Director Patrick McCage said Friday that workers are breaking down the old concrete pool and all other items inside its perimeter fence, including the pump area and poolhouse.
“Everything will be a blank slate for the contractors,” he said.
During the next week, McCage explained, representatives of Sanger’s Eikon Consultant Group LLC will present a “95 percent complete” set of plans for evaluation, followed by revisions and a finalized set.
From that point, the project goes to contractor bid and the new facility, budgeted at $1.7 million, will commence by way of the company hired to build it.
“Our department was to have this area completely cleared by Dec. 1,” McCage said Friday. “So hopefully, shortly thereafter, we’ll start seeing some possible construction. Hopefully, and possibly.”
The new pool will include a rock climbing wall, a diving board and two water slides — the larger one up to 20 feet tall — and a special play structure with spraying water. The new pool’s actual square footage will be slightly smaller than the former pool, but the amenities will be improved. The project is city-funded and entirely without debt service; a surplus of sales tax revenue during 2011 will pay for the improvements.
But McCage admitted the process of removing Leonard Park’s old pool has been tougher than expected. The pool and connected equipment are now more than 60 years old, and in time, as expected, the facility’s concrete has lessened in density.
“However, they used a lot of concrete back in the day,” he said. “But we’re saving several dollars by doing the demolition ourselves.”
McCage’s team will attempt to salvage the current pool’s old pump and motor and their mechanical and electrical components. He said it won’t be usable for the incoming pool, due to the more advanced construction standards, but all metal extracted from the broken-down site will be recycled, if possible.
McCage estimated the city will save up to $100,000 by using its own teams to break up the old pool and haul it away, a coordination among the parks and recreation department, the street department, the water department and Oncor Energy.
In the process, he said, officials are also learning more for themselves.
“We’re fine-tuning our needs as far as utilities are concerned,” McCage said. “What we’re doing is looking at it and seeing what we can do in-house.”