Vermillion citizens were given an opportunity Aug. 8 to view architect’s renderings of a proposed ne

Vermillion citizens were given an opportunity Aug. 8 to view architect’s renderings of a proposed new aquatic center to replace the city’s aging swimming pool in Prentis Park. (Courtesy of city of Vermillion)

Vermillion residents caught their first glimpse of the aquatic center set to be constructed in Prentis Park.

Renderings of the proposed facility were on display in the City Council Chambers the evening of Wednesday, Aug. 8, during which time the site designer and city officials were on hand to answer any questions.

"We've been through a couple different iterations of concepts, and this is the final concept that came out," said Craig Roy, engineer with Water's Edge Aquatic Design, of Lenexa, KS.

The plans depict an aquatic center that consists of two separate pool areas, each with its own features.

Roy said the first will be the main recreational pool area that has a spray area for toddlers, an interactive play structure with different activities on it, a water walk with tethered floatation devices, a 25-year lap lane area and springboard diving, among other features.

The main pool also will have a variety of entrance options, including zero-depth entry, a ramp for disabled accessibility and steps and rails, he said.

The other pool section will feature a lazy river and a plunge pool with three different slide structures, Roy said.

Apart from the pools and their amenities, a new bathhouse, filter building, administrative office area and parking lot will be constructed, as well.

City Manager John Prescott said the estimated cost of the conceptual design is $6.1 million for construction, and $6.4 million for the overall project.

"It's not in the 2013 budget at this point in time because we're not there, and there's a lot of dollar figures involved in this, so we have to make sure how we put it all together," Prescott said.

The project probably will be completed with a variety of different funds – possibly a combination of a bond, reserve and second-penny funds, he said.

"What (the aquatic center) ultimately ends up being is subject to change based on what we learn about the conceptual design, what we are able to put together with the funding pieces," Prescott said.

Parks & Recreation Director Dave Nelson said the current pool will be used "for at least two more years" as the project and its financing are finalized.

"But, we know we need to get to a point by 2015 where we have either a major renovation or a new pool," Nelson said.

The current pool – which already has been renovated twice – will turn 50 years old that year.

Among the areas of concern with the pool are the bathhouse, which was built without a roof and needs new showers and fixtures, and the leaky joints on the pool itself.

"We lose two to three inches of water a day," Nelson said. "The filter room is good, the water is safe, but it's old."

Last year, a committee was formed that investigated the problems with the current facility, and also checked into other area pools to better see what the community needed.

Nelson said a survey also was undertaken on the Parks & Recreation Web site asking community members what features they wanted to see in a new aquatic facility.

"I believe there were 351 people who responded," he said.

Vermillion sixth-graders also undertook a similar survey, he added.

"That was part of this whole process, to get that input from the community so we would give the students what they wanted, and give the people what they wanted," Nelson said. "We've tried to do that."

The top four features requested on the respective surveys were included in the final design, he said.

Water's Edge came on board the project during the interview process late last year, and started having meetings for it in February, Roy said.

"If the city decides to proceed with this project, then we would provide the detailed design of the facilities, so they city could then advertise the project for contractors to submit a price of what it's going to cost to build," he said. "Then we would be involved throughout the construction phase, and oversee the work that's done."

When the work is done, both Nelson and Prescott said they think the completed facility may draw more visitors to Vermillion.

Nelson said he thinks it could at least double its current average of 300-350 daily users.

"Some of the features that we are looking at today are not features that are found in surrounding pools," Prescott said. "Neighboring communities short of Sioux Falls don't have a lazy river."

"It'll be a great thing," Nelson said.

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