Just months before the Agnes Nolting Aquatics Complex must comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), major changes are in store at the Washington pool.
The wading pool will be removed to make way for a new splash pad, a zero-water depth play area for children of all ages.
New ADA rules which take effect in March 2013, require that wading pools have a zero-depth entry — a ramp — into the pool.
To implement the changes, much of the decking would have to be torn out to meet the ADA slope requirements.
“In doing that you would have to cut into the stainless steel in the side of the wading pool,” said Darren Dunkle, parks director. “People are moving toward splash pads instead.”
An estimated cost to add the ramp is about $60,000. Instead, the sum, which is budgeted, will go to build the splash playground, Dunkle said.
The existing pump and filtration system will be used. The splash playground would be about the same size as the current wading pool, Dunkle said. The exact features are not yet known, as Dunkle was still in the process of creating design/build bid specifications. Contractors will submit different designs and features for the playground.
The parks department will go out to bid within the next two weeks. Dunkle said he hopes to receive bids back by the end of December.
After the bids are received, the project will be presented to the city council for approval. Construction is expected to begin in January and be complete before the opening of the pool.
Since there will not be a recessed body of water, a lifeguard will not be needed for the splash pad, Dunkle noted.
Before the start of the season, the leisure pool will be resurfaced, Dunkle said, adding that the resurfacing is a part of ongoing maintenance.
The surfacing hasn’t been replaced since the leisure pool was built in the mid- to late-’90s.
“Pool surfaces break down over time due to the acidity and the chemicals in the pool,” he said. “What’s happening is some of the flooring material is breaking up and it’s crumbling. It has created some sharp edges.”
The parks department has not yet gone to bid for the project, which is estimated to cost about $20,000.