Water vessels tested at Powell Aquatic Center

Posted 12/15/09

If the vessels hold water like they should and there aren't any leaks discovered in crevices, “then we'll be good to go,” said Carrie Parmer, city aquatic superintendent.

Results from the test will be available this week.

The …

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Water vessels tested at Powell Aquatic Center


Dozens tour facility as construction progresses on scheduleWhile temperatures hovered around zero degrees outside, inside the Powell Aquatic Center, water circulated in the competition pool and continuous river — but it was much too cold for a swim. The center, poised for a March 2010 completion, is still months away from welcoming swimmers.City, county and school leaders clad in winter coats, hats and gloves toured the facility last week. A day before the tour, the pool's vessels were filled for a seven-day test to determine if they hold water properly.

If the vessels hold water like they should and there aren't any leaks discovered in crevices, “then we'll be good to go,” said Carrie Parmer, city aquatic superintendent.

Results from the test will be available this week.

The pool's construction, under general contractor Sletten Construction of Wyoming, is proceeding on schedule, said Nancy Ronto, project manager for Burbach Aquatics.

“We're still looking at the beginning of March (for completion),” she said. “Everything is going very well.”

It may take several additional weeks to open the center after construction is finished. City crews won't be able to finish certain elements at the site — such as the parking lot, sidewalks and landscaping — until Sletten Construction crews are finished building the aquatic center.

In the months ahead, crews will focus on electrical and plumbing work, Ronto said. They also are completing interior walls in the center's lobby and locker rooms.

For the pool itself, all of the critical concrete pours for water-holding vessels are finished, and only two pours remain to complete the pool's deck.

Several tour-goers who saw the center for the first time last week commented on its size and design.

“It's a little bigger than I thought it would be. I think it's a great addition to Powell,” said Tim French, Park County commissioner.

From the highway, passersby may not realize how big it is. The view from the highway can be deceiving, said Zane Logan, city administrator.

“People are going to be surprised when they come in,” he said.

French said he believes residents young and old will benefit from the new aquatic center.

“The people of Park County should be proud. They paid the lion's share of this facility,” he said.

A 1-cent capital facilities tax, passed by voters in 2006, generated $7 million of the facility's $9.2 million construction.

The tax brought another $2 million for an endowment for the pool's operation and an overage of $1 million-plus. (See related story.)

The 1-cent tax ended in October, and French said he's wary of another capital-facilities tax in the current economic climate.

“There have been some rumblings of a cap tax for the landfill. I have to see just how it would work out,” French said.

He added that residents were assured the 1-cent tax would come and go — not return on the ballot every few years.

“We may need to give that cap tax a break,” he said.

Karen Roles, a Powell High School teacher and former swim coach who campaigned for the 1-cent tax, said she's grateful for the funding provided through the tax.

“We're fortunate to have this facility — thank you to all the people who voted for the tax,” she said during the tour.

“I think that the community at large is going to be very pleased,” Roles added.

Other representatives from the Park County School District No. 1 echoed her appreciation and support.

“What a beautiful facility — it's going to be really nice once it's finished,” said David Northrup, a school board member.

The inside of the aquatic center currently is shades of gray, but the walls and pool floors eventually will be painted white. The lighting will reflect off a white ceiling.

“We want all the light to bounce off the ceiling and walls,” Ronto said. “There's not a lot of natural light.”

While the center's front lobby has windows, the natatorium itself does not have windows. There are two doors at either end of the pool that will provide natural light.

Ronto said Burbach Aquatics has found that the most effective way to control the pool's environment is “to have as few windows as possible.”

The walls are heavily insulated, she added. Ronto said fewer windows makes it easier to regulate conditions in the pool, making it more energy efficient.

During the tour, Dave Blevins, a former school board member, said he is looking forward to swimming in the completed center.

“This will be a fine facility,” he said. “I don't have any doubt about that.”