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Back You are here: Home News Local and State News Local Carolina Beach Council To Consider Approval Of Aquatics Center

Carolina Beach Council To Consider Approval Of Aquatics Center

The Carolina Beach Town Council will consider approving funds to construct an 8-lane 25-yard pool at their April 8th meeting.

By WILLARD KILLOUGH III
Managing Editor

CAROLINA BEACH - The Carolina Beach Town Council will consider approving a proposal to construct an Aquatics Center adjacent to the Town's Recreation Center behind Town Hall at their upcoming April 8th meeting.
In November 2013, the Carolina Beach Town Council approved additional funding for the design of a proposed community pool during their November 12, 2013 meeting.
In April of last year the Carolina Beach Community Pool Steering Committee gave a presentation to the Town Council on a proposal to build a swimming pool adjacent to the Town's Recreation Center behind Town Hall on land already owned by the Town. The Council approved the next step in the process at the April 2013 meeting to complete the final construction drawings and obtain all final bids and structure a loan and terms with the Local Government Commission.
Highlights include a 204,000 gallon, 25 yard, 8-lane, NCAA compliant swimming pool complemented by a zero entry shallow end, ADA accessible ramp, and 9’ diving well. The facility would be open in the Summer and covered by a “bubble” enclosure in the winter for year-round use. Access to the facility will be through the existing rec center entryway and a covered walkway that leads to the pool.  Leveraging the existing check-in desk would reduce the annual admin cost of running the facility. It would also include locker rooms, storage building with an open design, separate admin counter that can be utilized for concessions, and a family changing room.
The committee sent out surveys in utility bills and held community meetings including one at the Katie B. Hines Senior Center.
The proposed annual membership fees for Carolina Beach residents are $400 for a family, $340 for a senior family, $240 for an individual and $204 for a senior individual.
For non-residents, the annual fee would be $520 for a family, $442 for a senior family, $330 for an individual and $281 for a senior individual.
According to the narrative included in the agenda for the April 8th, meeting it states, "The pool committee has been dedicated to providing a financial model that produces a self sustaining model that does not become a burden to the tax payers.  Although we feel it is likely that participation and membership can cover the overall costs, this is not a guarantee, and therefore represents a risk to the citizens of Carolina Beach."
The narrative states, "Potential Benefits: The benefits to our community are vast.  Each generation of citizens can find enjoyment with a multi-use pool that is open year round: Residents, which include youth, seniors, families, and people with disabilities, would be able to learn to swim and become strong swimmers.  This is vitally important in our community for obvious safety issues with having an ocean nearby. Community swim teams and leagues can be formed. There would also be opportunities to use the pool for low impact exercise such as water aerobics, physical therapy, rehabilitation, and recreational swimming.   Families would have additional year-round activities, such as birthday parties, night swims, movie nights, recreational swimming, and camp opportunities. Carolina Beach Lifeguards will be able to complete necessary training without renting pool time at facilities in Wilmington.  Additionally, the pool can offer ongoing training programs so that new lifeguards can be trained and all current lifeguards can maintain the swimming prerequisites of the program year-round. With an addition of a community pool the Carolina Beach Recreation Center will become more popular, which will increase the  membership base.  With additional members, especially from the pool, the Parks and Recreation Department will shift to a new paradigm by replacing a larger percentage of expenses with revenue."
The narrative states, "The design and total budget for this program has been thoroughly researched over the last year and a half.  The committee believes that the potential benefits outweigh the potential risks."
Bids received from contractors range from $1,197,225.00 to $1,645,319.00.
The Ad-Hoc Aquatics Facility Committee will recommend to Council which bid to award the contract.
As of November 2013 the following had been spent:
• $ 3,500.00 Schematic Design Documents- Lisle Architecture
• $ 15,875 Engineering services
• $ 28,448.26 Design Development Documents- Lisle Architecture
• $ 348.94 Additional Printing Fees- Lisle Architecture
• $ 2,000.00 Council Presentation Pool Video- Seven Season Films
• $ 50,172.20 Total spent on pool project
In November the Council approved spending an additional $12,429.76 in order to complete the project design for bid documents, value engineering design and civil changes, bid preparation and negotiation.
During the 2013 municipal election season, candidates were asked, "What is your position on the proposal to build an 8-lane community swimming pool and Aquatics Center adjacent to Town Hall to be funded by user fees?"
Mayor Dan Wilcox answered, "I’m in favor of a community pool, just not this design or at this time. My suggestion would be to keep the pool committee intact and ask them to look at alternate designs while we explore Parks & Recreation grant opportunities again. If we find an appropriate design and suitable funding sources that will cover any potential shortfalls and liability to our property owners, I feel the community could reach consensus on this issues."
Councilman Gary Doetsch answered, "At this time I am not in favor of the project. Too many issues have not been addressed and I do not feel that adequate information has been supplied to citizens so accurate support can be determined. Having a community pool is something that was suggested when I was on Town Council 1997-2005 but the concept has changed. As long as it was on the Parks and Recreation Committee’s list of future projects I would continue to view this as a possibility as long as it was a Community Pool affordable to all residents both from membership and cost of operation to citizens."
Council member Leann Pierce answered, "I would like to see a safe place for our children to learn to swim and families to spend quality time. With that said, I have to look at it through the eyes of a business person and a taxpayer. I would have to be convinced that  we as a community can afford this project and the citizens are in favor of it. I am not in favor of creating a tax burden on our citizens.  I would like to see alternative funding with grants, private enterprise, or county participation."
The Council will consider the project at their upcoming April 8th regular monthly meeting at 6:30 PM at Town Hall in the Council meeting room.

Additional documents included in the Council agenda for the April 8th meeting.

The following is a narrative provided in the agenda by the Pool Committee:

The Aquatic Steering Committee was appointed on October 2012 at Council's direction
to examine the feasibility of building a community pool that would meet the primary
needs of the citizens of Carolina Beach.  Additionally, the committee was charged
with making recommendations regarding the construction, operation, and programming
of a pool located at the Town of Carolina Beach Recreation Center. The Committee has
worked diligently over an 18 month period and engaged in extensive public
consultation including surveys, public meetings, a social media page, and newspaper
and email notices.

Community Pool Project Timeline
2008 - Carolina Beach Parks and Recreation Master Plan recommends the construction
of a pool as a high priority item.
September 2012 - Carolina Beach Town Council unanimously approves moving forward
with research regarding the feasibility of this project.  Council also approves
$30,000.00 in expenses for initial design and planning.
October 2012 - Carolina Beach Ad Hoc Aquatic Steering Committee is appointed.
November 2012 - After reviewing several proposals, Lisle Architecture and Design is
engaged for initial Design and Planning.  
December 2012 - Committee presented an update to the Carolina Beach Town Council
regarding initial cost estimate. 
January 2013 - Public forums are held at Town of Carolina Beach Recreation Center
and the Katie B. Hines Senior Center.  Project design, feasibility, and community
support are discussed. 
May 2013 - Initial findings presented to Town Council.  Additional $21,000.00
approved by Town Council to complete the design and prepare for open bid. 
September 2013 - Construction Drawings and Site Plan are completed by Lisle
Architecture and Design.
September 2013 - Three additional public forums are held to review pool design and
ascertain community support for the project.  Two meetings are held at the Carolina
Beach Recreation Center.  One meeting is held at Katie B. Hines Senior Center.
November 2013 - Value Engineering meetings are held to ensure fiscal responsibility
for the project. 
December 2013 - Bid Documents prepared and advertised to the public. 
February 2014 - Bidding closed.  Bids received and reviewed. 

Ad-Hoc Aquatics Facility Committee Findings

Design
This committee has sought out the opinions of our citizens through a variety of
avenues.  Initial open forums were used to get an idea of what kind of facility
residents wanted.  There were also comments about the pool design on the returned
surveys. The community's opinion for potential uses of a community pool varied a
great deal.  Desired uses included recreation, therapeutic, and fitness, with an
emphasis on water safety training. The common theme among most responses and
communication to the committee was that members would like a pool that was not a
significant burden to the taxpayers of Carolina Beach.

In order to design a pool that would meet the many needs of the community and allow
for enough revenue streams to give the project a chance to be self-sustaining (no
tax payer burden) we feel it is necessary to build a year round multi-use facility.
This premise and the various uses requested by the community drove the current
design of the pool.

Cost of project

Since November 2012 the committee has worked with Lisle Architecture and Design in
carefully planning this project.  Our goal was to keep costs as low as possible
while producing a facility that was practical, useful, and something that the
citizens of Carolina Beach can be proud of.

Please find attached ITEM A - Bid Summary Spreadsheet

Cost of Operation

Over the past 18 months the committee has reviewed all of the potential expenses for
this facility.  Each expense has been vetted and compared to pools of similar size
within the local area.  The committee has been careful to make sure each number is
conservative and to account for a worst case scenario.  Throughout the expense model
you will see where the committee accounted for capital improvements over the life of
the project such as replacement of the bubble enclosure, pump replacement, etc.

Please find attached ITEM B - Swimming Pool Financial Analysis

Revenue

The design of the pool is based on features requested by the community. These
features also provide vital revenue streams through programming/activities. The
committee made sure that there was enough room for each program/ activity without
sacrificing accessibility for the community.

Please find attached ITEM B - Swimming Pool Financial Analysis
Please find attached ITEM C - Swimming Pool Revenue Sources

Demand for Services

Many committee hours were spent debating potential membership for the pool.  A
precise number can not be ascertained prior to committing to this project.  However,
using empirical data, a revenue model was built to reflect an educated assumption of
what we feel the demand for services will be. 

The two surveys that were sent out showed over 55% approval rating among Carolina
Beach residents.  The majority of the residents that attended the five open forums
were in favor of the pool and its design.
Please find attached ITEM D - Membership Modeling  

Overall Budget

Please find attached ITEM E - Best Case, Most Likely Case, Worst Case

Potential Risks

There are obvious liability exposures when operating a pool.  These can be handled
by policy and procedure along with additional insurance.
 
Financial Concerns:  The pool committee has been dedicated to providing a financial
model that produces a self sustaining model that does not become a burden to the tax
payers.  Although we feel it is likely that participation and membership can cover
the overall costs, this is not a guarantee, and therefore represents a risk to the
citizens of Carolina Beach.

Potential Benefits

The benefits to our community are vast.  Each generation of citizens can find
enjoyment with a multi-use pool that is open year round:
Residents, which include youth, seniors, families, and people with disabilities,
would be able to learn to swim and become strong swimmers.  This is vitally
important in our community for obvious safety issues with having an ocean nearby.
Community swim teams and leagues can be formed. There would also be opportunities to
use the pool for low impact exercise such as water aerobics, physical therapy,
rehabilitation, and recreational swimming.   Families would have additional
year-round activities, such as birthday parties, night swims, movie nights,
recreational swimming, and camp opportunities.
Carolina Beach Lifeguards will be able to complete necessary training without
renting pool time at facilities in Wilmington.  Additionally, the pool can offer
ongoing training programs so that new lifeguards can be trained and all current
lifeguards can maintain the swimming prerequisites of the program year-round.
With an addition of a community pool the Carolina Beach Recreation Center will
become more popular, which will increase the  membership base.  With additional
members, especially from the pool, the Parks and Recreation Department will shift to
a new paradigm by replacing a larger percentage of expenses with revenue.

Summary

The design and total budget for this program has been thoroughly researched over the
last year and a half.  The committee believes that the potential benefits outweigh
the potential risks.

Additional Documents

ITEM F - Full Design Swimming Pool Bid Set
ITEM G - Frequently Asked Questions
ITEM H - Projected Staffing Cost