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March 25, 2010 3:42 am

Powell Aquatic Center on track for May opening

Written by Tribune Staff

As the old Powell High School pool has its final day Friday, the new Powell Aquatic Center is progressing toward a May opening.

Earlier this week, the pool's general contractor, Sletten Construction, met with the Burbach Aquatics engineer and project manager to discuss the schedule going into the final weeks.

Prior to the center's opening in May, the pool's owner — the city of Powell — will move into the facility one phase at a time. The first stage, clearing the parking lot site, is set for March 30.

“The owner train is on the track and it's moving,” said Dave Burbach, project engineer.

Burbach said the substantial completion date is May 3. Prior to that date, “the city forces have to do a considerable amount of preparation work.”

That includes training staff in the new facility, installing the timing equipment for competitions, getting the concession area ready, testing the water and other projects.

A Wyoming Department of Health official also must approve the aquatic center prior to its opening. Burbach said Chelle Schwope, a consumer health specialist, walked through the aquatic center and met with Sletten and Burbach on Monday.

The pool is slated to be open to the public in early May.

“Providing everything goes really well, we hope to have a dry reception in mid-May,” said Carrie Parmer, aquatics director.

The dry reception will be a chance for the public to tour the facility and meet the new staff members, but it won't be open to swimmers then — hence the “dry.” The pool will be open to swimmers soon after that date, Parmer said.

A new program schedule with summer offerings will begin in June. The aquatic center is accepting memberships at this time, but residents can't enroll in classes until closer to the pool's opening.

Burbach said Tuesday he is pleased with the aquatic center's progress, and officials are starting to develop a punch list for construction crews.

There's a flurry of activity at the pool as crews close in on the final weeks.

“It's quite a hive out there this morning,” Parmer said Tuesday.

Though cleaning up around the parking lot area is one of the first phases scheduled, construction of the parking lot won't start until later this spring, Burbach said.

Last week, the Powell City Council approved a $343,150 bid for the pool's parking lot to EHC of Cowley, the lowest bidder.

Bids ranging from $399,625 to $676,940 also were received from McClellan and MacQueen, Capstone Construction and MDM Concrete.

Porous concrete that retains water will be used for the pool's parking lot. It will be the first of its kind in the Powell area, and will be an example for other construction projects. Porous concrete helps manage water drainage in a sustainable way.

EHC, the contractor hired for the parking lot, has completed porous concrete projects before, said public services manager Gary Butts.

For more information about the pool's membership rates or hours, visit www.powellaquatics.com.