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DeKalb Park District group mulls pool renovation

Official: ‘Money constraints are driving this to be a renovation’

Published: Monday, April 7, 2014 11:10 p.m. CDT • Updated: Tuesday, April 8, 2014 10:41 a.m. CDT

DeKALB – Hopkins Pool could be renovated rather than replaced based on the financial limitations of the DeKalb Park District.

During the DeKalb Park District’s ad-hoc Pool Consideration Committee meeting Monday, members discussed the options for keeping the existing basin while replacing mechanics such as pipes and gutters.

Preliminary information from PHN Architects placed renovation costs between $3.8 million and $5.7 million. PHN estimated building a new pool would cost about $6.4 million.

“I really think money constraints are driving this to be a renovation,” park board Vice President Per Faivre said, adding the costs of a renovation could be pared down.

Faivre serves on the committee along with Commissioner Keith Nyquist, community members and park district staff. The committee was formed in October with the charge of investigating the options for the 40-year-old pool and reporting those findings to the park board. The committee does not take any action.

Park board members last year abandoned a $5 million plan to replace the pool in its existing footprint after three new members were elected to the five-member board. The board has since appointed two new members, Dean Holliday to replace Don Irving, who died late last year, and Bryant Irving – Don Irving’s bother – after Mike Teboda resigned last week for health reasons.

DeKalb Park Board leaders last year also briefly discussed partnering with the Sycamore Park District on a new pool, but abandoned those efforts because DeKalb officials did not want to spend money on land for a joint facility.

A referendum that proposed higher property taxes to pay for a more expensive pool renovation was rejected by voters by a margin of 3 to 1 in 2010.

The District has until March 2015 to have a plan in place to bring the existing pool into compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Committee member Steve Irving on Monday asserted between $1.3 million and $1.5 million could be cut from the renovation project such as landscaping, re-routing Dresser Road and demolishing the existing equipment building.

“Get to a number that you have to do and everything else is frosting on the cake there,” Irving said.

Also up for debate is when a renovation would happen and if it would be completed all at once. The park district has around $550,000 available annually for capital projects until 2019 when bonds for the Sports and Recreation Center are paid. Pursuing a full renovation before 2019 would leave the agency little to work with for capital projects, assistant director Lisa Wells Small said.

“If we were to proceed, we would have virtually no money left over to address any issues at any of our other facilities,” Small said.

Ultimately, the decision will be up to the DeKalb Park District Board after the committee presents a report detailing its findings this summer.

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