Archive for Wednesday, November 21, 2001

Company floats design ideas for future pool

November 21, 2001

When the city of Russell decided it needed a new pool, it went all out.

In place of the 50-year-old oblong pool with shallow and deep ends, the city installed a 324,000 gallon pool with two water slides, a beach-like entrance into the water, and plenty of toys, like a mushroom that "rains" and a water-spraying fountain.

"Our attendance probably quadrupled," said Arlyn Unrein, Russell public works director.

The west-central Kansas town of about 4,700 people built a pool that has caught the eye of the city of Eudora. Representatives of CAS Construction of Topeka, which built Russell's pool, spoke about the project. Their work interested Eudora City Council members at the Nov. 13 meeting. A representative from Larkin, another pool company, also made a presentation.

The Russell pool cost about $1.4 million, which included some materials like the water slides, which the city provided, Unrein said. Russell kept the pool in the same location, allowing the city to pay for the project with general obligation bonds.

"We've had nothing but compliments," Unrein said.

In addition to amenities like raining mushrooms and water slides, Russell was also able to make the pool and shower facilities handicap accessible. Changing area restrooms with exterior access allow citizens using the tennis courts across the street to use them, and a family changing room lets parents and caregivers keep an eye on children of both sexes while prepping for the pool.

"What we did is we formed a committee of council members and the public to review what we wanted in the pool so it wasn't one person making all the decisions," Unrein said.

The amenities Russell chose for its pool have become commonplace, said Bill Stanhope, a representative of Patio, Pool and Fireside who spoke at the Nov. 13 Eudora city council meeting.

"People tend to go play in a pool," Stanhope said. "They don't swim in a pool."

The recent trend in pools is for cities to want all types of fancy features.

"That's why we've moved away from 'baby pools,'" said CAS representative Linell Stanhope. "Adults lay in the shallow water."

That's one of the aspects that makes zero-entry a desirable feature. Zero entry means swimmers enter the pool by walking down a ramp that gradually enters deeper water.

Linell Stanhope said another important consideration was making the pool look attractive when not in use, as Russell did by avoiding chain-link fences and providing cabana-like shade areas.

Larkin representative Tim Spiker showed mock-ups of possible pool designs and told the council what the city needed to do to keep the existing pool in tip-top shape until emulating a pool like Russell's is possible.

The designs Spiker showed would cost about $150 per square foot to construct, with a total cost around $1.4 million.

Both Spiker and Linell Stanhope discussed using the design-build process. Unrein experienced a modified design-build method in Russell.

"You don't have a professional to draw a set of plans two inches thick," Unrein said. "We did sketches and said, 'This is what we want.'"

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