Pool Project Gets Tight Deadline

Open to residents of HPISD, the Holmes Aquatic Center boasts 2,300 permits sold and more than 46,000 visits estimated for the 2017 season. (Photo: Imani Chet Lytle)

When it comes to planned improvements at the Holmes Aquatic Center, only timing-worries outweigh cost-concerns.

“I would assure you, if we don’t have that pool open next Memorial Day, I’m going to have to hide behind Steve [Mace],” University Park Mayor Olin Lane said.

Community information officer Mace said the city can have a new 3,265-square-foot northeast building ready in time for the 2018 pool season. “Certainly, that’s our goal.”

Replacement of the west building will have to wait, but the $2.4 million northeast-building project will address the public’s most urgent concerns, director of parks and recreation Gerry Bradley said.

“The biggest complaints we receive from the public are [about] the bathrooms and the concessions,” he said. “A microwaved hamburger is probably not as palatable as what we could provide the public.”

Foundation issues have caused cracks to form in structural walls, doors to misalign, and roof joists to pull away from the walls, Bradley added.

The city has talked for years about replacing the buildings, but budget concerns and an unwillingness to jeopardize the beginning of the 2017 pool season kept work from proceeding last fall.

The budget was again a focus this spring, with estimates for replacing both buildings as designed at $6 million.

The city worked with W.B. Kibler Construction Company to trim that estimate, but realizing $700,000 in savings would require a redesign that could postpone construction again or risk interfering with the 2018 swim season.

Council member Gage Prichard noted a March 2016 estimate of $1.5 million for replacing the northeast building. “Where in the world did we run over a million dollars on that budget?”

Bradley and City Manager Robbie Corder cited the need for a more-costly foundation than anticipated, as well as the public’s desire for added features such as meeting space.

Also, a busy construction market has inflated prices, council member Taylor Armstrong said, pointing out the Highland Park ISD leaders who had come to City Hall to discuss construction at the high school. “It’s those guys over there who are driving the prices up.”


September: Fence off work-area
Early October: Approve bids
Late October: Begin demolition and construction
Memorial Day Weekend 2018: Open pool season

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William Taylor

William Taylor, editor of Park Cities People and Preston Hollow People, shares a name and a birthday with his dad and a love for community journalism with his colleagues at People Newspapers. He joined the staff in 2016 after more than 25 years working for daily newspapers in such places as Alexandria, Louisiana; Baton Rouge; McKinney; San Angelo; and Sherman, though not in anywhere near that order. A city manager once told him that “city government is the best government” because of its potential to improve the lives of its residents. William still enjoys covering municipal government and many other topics. Follow him on Twitter @Seminarydropout. He apologizes in advance to the Joneses for any angry Tweets that might slip out about the Dallas Cowboys during the NFL season. You also can reach him at [email protected]. For the latest news, click here to sign up for our newsletter.

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