Pool improvements well ahead of schedule

By: 
Jill Meier, Journal editor
Submitted photo 
TSP Architects submitted renderings of the forthcoming upgrades to Brandon’s pool.
When Brandon’s community swimming pool opens its doors next spring, it’s sure to make a big splash with patrons.
 
The excitement is largely due to the improvements being made to the pool this summer.
 
The planned improvements include a new wading pool, slides and a splash pad, but patrons will be getting even more since bids came in well under estimates.
 
City engineer Tami Jansma emphasized the project is based on a “very strict budget”, but said a favorable base bid is also allowing the city to pursue the alternate bid – the extras – to happen as well.
 
“Both came in under budget,” Jansma said, “the whole wish list.”
 
Jansma attributes the favorable bids to COVID-19, which has potentially caused other communities to hold off on projects.
 
The alternate bid includes a second slide, shade canopies and new furnishings for the concessions area.
 
“We’re trying to do something for everybody – younger and older,” Jansma said, citing the additional play and shade structures. No changes are being made to the current pool.
 
Patrons will also see that the fence that once separated the large pool from the wading pool is gone. 
 
Jansma said the improvements are in response to a survey the city did about two years ago, where residents expressed they wanted better pool facilities.
 
Last month, TSP Architects presented renderings to the city of what the upgrades entail. The renderings, however, don’t include the current amenities like the diving boards, concession area and picnic tables, all of which will remain.
 
The project has an April 15, 2021 deadline, which Jansma said is achievable. Because the city opted not to open the pool for the 2020 season, general contractor Beck and Hofer was able to start work earlier than planned. On the recommendation of the city park and rec board to keep the pool closed this year, the council backed their suggestion. The move was made due to the likely inability to comply with CDC guidelines, which would have required additional staffing to monitor social distancing and ensure proper sanitizing the facilities. It was also noted that if an employee tested positive, the entire pool staff had potential to be exposed, which again, could have affected staffing needs.
 
Brandon parks superintendent Devin Coughlin estimates the pool is about a month ahead of schedule. Crews began demolition of the pool in early August and Coughlin is confident that most of the project will be completed this year. He said cleanup, painting and seeding may need to wait until early spring but said the pool should open at its usual time next year.
 

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