Apparently, I was not aware that CA and County Government did a pool study before. I really appreciated that one CA staff shared the study result with me.
Three primary findings are ( 50-meter pool)
- CA or the county government do not have land for 50-meter pool,
- The construction cost is around 14-20 million dollars,
- The operating cost yearly is around 1 million dollars.
Based on the Work Team’s analysis and research, the most common size for indoor pools that are used for competition is the 25-yard pool (Option B). This option would provide a competition level pool that is less costly to construct. Option A (the 50-meter pool) would provide a higher level of competitive pool, more lane capacity, and operate and provide lane configuration options of 50 meters as well as 25 yards.
Capital Investment Sharing
The actual details of an investment agreement would have to be worked out. The starting point would be equal investment by all parties. However, that would need to be modified based on further detailed analysis and also on land acquisition roles.
The Work Team finds that the most appropriate option would be for one organization to operate the new indoor aquatics facility while the other entity (or entities) would participate in cost-sharing through a grant. Given the County’s more favorable liability terms, the Work Team finds that it may be more advantageous for the County to operate the facility. However, if a facility were built on campus at HCC, another option would be for the college to operate the facility.
No suitable, existing CA or County lands for such a facility were identified by the Work Team. In the future, should HCC funding for an HCC athletic facility become available, the potential for an aquatics facility partnership with HCC for an on-campus location should be more thoroughly investigated.
In the short-term — five to ten years — the County, HCC and CA have committed their limited discretionary dollars to other capital and operating priorities. CA has large planned and programmed capital investments in a number of its facilities, which are older and must be updated to maintain and extend their useful life to serve the Columbia community. These include more than 42 buildings, many of which are over 40 years old. Related to aquatics, CA has made a commitment to renovate its threepool, 11-lane indoor Columbia Swim Center to extend its useful life for another 10 to 15 years. This is 11 CA’s largest indoor aquatics facility. This reinvestment will allow time to explore other options to expand indoor aquatics facilities and continue to explore a future shared aquatics venue with the County. The County has many competing interests for capital dollars for everything from public safety and schools to storm water, transportation and library facilities. Capital projects are already planned and programmed for the next several years. Related to recreational investments, several large projects are underway and must be completed, including Troy Park and Blandair Regional Park. In response to the continued, steady increases in enrollment at HCC, the college has established priorities for academic buildings and other capital investments and these take priority over a new athletic/aquatic facility.
In conclusion, while there is a spirit of cooperation between CA, the County and HCC, the Work Team finds that there are challenges to overcome to a potential partnership approach, including lack of identified capital and operating funding and operational protocols. The Work Team also finds that the earliest possible construction timeline, given the other financial commitments of the organizations, would be 10 years into the future (2027) and perhaps beyond that date. Should a location be identified for the facility and a decision made to move forward with funding obligations, then the Work Team suggests that planning and engineering for the facility begin three years prior to the desired completion of construction. The Work Team recommends that this potential partnership approach for an indoor aquatics facility be revisited again in three to five years to monitor changes and opportunities.
Please refer to my previous post on the 50-meter pool study. https://chaowu.org/2017/05/05/50-meter-pool-is-needed-in-hoco/