Pool committee leaning toward GES site

by nathan oster

Greybull area voters will be asked two separate taxing questions this fall dealing with the construction, operation and maintenance of a swimming pool, and as those votes draw nearer, the committee spearheading the project continues to refine its vision for the facility.

In a July 10 meeting with the swimming pool committee, Jim Bauer of Bauer Group Architects presented concept plans for the final two sites under consideration: the site of the existing pool as well as a site between the Greybull Elementary School playground and the tennis courts.

Bauer said the proposed pool at either location would be similar to the existing one, describing it as “an effective and usable facility without being over the top.” It would be a 25-meter pool with six lanes, 1- and 3-meter diving boards, and a zero-entry area.  A future slide area would also be incorporated into the design.

The proposed pool would be slightly larger than the existing one, which is about 10,000 square feet, and it would not have a basement.  Everything, including the filtration and mechanical systems, would be on the main level.

The concept for the proposed pool also includes a workroom for staff, a family restroom and public restrooms outside of the shower/changing rooms, expanded concession area and seating for approximately 35 spectators. When all of that is factored in, the site of the proposed pool comes to around 13,380 square feet, which is “17 to 20 percent” larger than the existing one, Bauer told the committee.

One additional feature that would be possible at the elementary school site, but not at the existing site, is an outdoor patio area. The patio would be on the southeastern corner of the pool, which would give parents views of both the playground and the pool.

By the end of the July 10 meeting, the committee favored the elementary school location, citing its location adjacent to both the park and the elementary school playground, as well as the concrete walk path which kids and families could use to get to the facility.

Bob Graham, a member of the town council and the swimming pool committee, said in an interview Tuesday that the committee recognizes the advantage of the existing site, including its location on the middle and high school campus. But there are uncertainties about that site as well, including whether the School Facilities Commission would allow the district to utilize parts of the existing facility. “All of their money is tied directly to the elimination of that facility,” Graham said. “They have the money to tear it down…that we know.”

Two other sites were evaluated earlier in the process, but did not make the final cut. One of those sites on Greybull River Road in the vicinity of the Art Schutte Sports Complex, while the other was on the north end of the current Buff Gym.

Graham said the Greybull River Road site was ruled out because of its location, as the committee felt kids would have a hard time getting there. As for the gym site, Graham said parking would be a concern, noting that it is already limited in that area and that it would be further reduced by an addition to the gym.

Graham said that the committee will meet again as soon as it hears from Bauer, who is finalizing numbers and making revisions to the floor plan that were suggested by members of the committee last week.

Meanwhile, Graham said the two taxing initiatives are on track for the fall general election ballot.  The school district will put forward a $5.2 million bond issue that would pay for the construction of the pool.

A second tax question brought forward by the county’s municipalities will ask voters countywide whether they’d support a sixth cent of sales tax.  Each community has identified a project that would be paid for by the additional penny.  As it stands now, Greybull’s would take $2.4 million of the total generated by the tax, with $2 million going for operation and maintenance of the pool for the next 20 years and $400,000 available to earmark for construction.