Plans for Snohomish Aquatic Center back on track

SNOHOMISH — The Snohomish School District has a new design for its aquatic center that would reduce operational and building costs. At the same time, it would add programs to increase revenue.

“There were several areas we evaluated,” superintendent Bill Mester said. “We are right now good to go.”

The $21.3 million center is designed to have a 10-lane swimming pool; a recreational pool with a lazy river, water slide and a shallow side; a hot tub; and a wave pool.

The first step is demolishing the 60,000-square-foot classroom building at Maple Avenue Campus, 601 Glen Ave., to make way for the pool.

The district plans to open bidding in July. The campus is currently a temporary site for Valley View Middle School, but there are no plans to use it next school year.

The aquatic center is expected to open in October 2013.

To save on construction costs, district officials have shifted where the 52,000-square-foot center will be built. The design also calls for fewer water tanks and other energy-efficient measures.

The district also got help when the Snohomish City Council approved paying about $52,500 in water and sewer fees until 2043.

To increase revenue, the district wants to add different programs. A new program is giving swimming lessons to toddlers, having a glass wall to keep the recreational pool open during swim meets, and adding the wave pool for people wanting to practice their surfing skills.

“We are trying to become more efficient and looking for ways to generate more revenue,” project manager Steven Moore said.

The roof is designed to have a solar thermal water heating system that would work even on cloudy days, Moore said.

The competitive pool’s design has a seating capacity for 425 people, and there would be 173 parking spaces.

The aquatic center was delayed for one year when the superintendent and the school board suspended work after an analysis said it would cost $450,000 more to operate the pool than what it would bring in. No new analysis has been made, but Mester said he believes the gap has been reduced.

The pool was a main sales point in a $268 million bond voters approved in 2008.

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