by nathan oster
Greybull won’t be getting a new swimming pool anytime soon.
That much was clear after last week’s general election, when voters rejected not only a bond issue to build a new aquatic center but also a sixth-cent tax proposal that would have funded its operations and maintenance for up to 20 years.
So the question now becomes, how much longer will the existing pool last? And how much longer will the town and school district, both of which have been providing up to $30,000 annually to the pool, continue to make those commitments?
Barry Bryant, superintendent of schools, said the future “will be up to the board and the town,” but that he “sees it going as is” spelled out in a memorandum of understanding between the town, school district and recreation district, which actually runs the pool.
“With the next big catastrophe over there, it will be shut down,” said Bryant.
That could happen at any time, he said, citing a report done in June by the School Facilities Department. The report scored the building using a rating system of 1 to 5. Scores of 4 and 5 were given for things in “good” condition, 3s for things that need attention and 2s and 1s for things that need to be replaced.
The report rated the condition of the building in the following categories: substructure, structures and shell, interiors, services, plumbing, HVAC, fire protection, electrical, equipment and furnishings, special construction and demolition and site systems.
The pool scored a “2” in 12 of the 28 categories, including the roof structural system, exterior windows and doors, roof coverings, interior doors and interior specialties, floors, ceilings, sanitary waste, HVAC controls, electrical service and distribution and aquatic facilities.
Bryant summed it up by noting that the building is simply showing its age.
The pool was built in 1971, and the life expectancy at the time was 30 years, meaning, “It’s already 10 years past its useful life,” Bryant said.
The Greybull Recreation District manages the pool, and through the first four months of the fiscal year, Director Chris Waite said things are still going well. “We are funded through June 30 and we haven’t gone over our projections, spent more than we did last year, or anything like that. Functionally, there is always something here or there, but overall, it’s working out.”
Waite said the pool is ahead of last year’s pace in terms of revenue generated, citing the success of programs like AquaZumba as well as the water workouts, which “continue to have pretty consistent attendance.” Waite said more lap swimmers are using the pool than at this time one year ago, but that open swim attendance remains flat.
Bryant said Waite and his team have done “an excellent job” managing the pool. “The problem is, they are working with a nearly 42-year-old pool,” he said.
When the pool fails, it’ll trigger another conversation. The School Facilities Commission has allocated $141,000 for the demolition of the pool. With the pool operational at this time, that project is on hold for the moment, Bryant said.