Washington City Administrator Darren Lamb and Parks Director Wayne Dunker will be taking a field trip soon.

The pair will travel to the Springfield area July 16-17 to look at two pools: one in Willard and another in Branson. The trip was announced to the Washington Park Board during its meeting Wednesday.

Dunker noted both pools were built by a company that builds a lot of pools in Kansas and Kansas City.

“We received marketing information from them,” he said.

The trip comes four months after the public engagement process for a proposed new pool concluded. Now the Washington Aquatics Facility Committee is in the design process.

The visit to the two pools will allow for a comparison between costs and amenities.  

The Branson Aquaplex is a bigger facility than what is expected of the proposed pool in Washington.

“The Willard one is more typical to what we have here,” Dunker said.

And, Dunker said, since the two pools were built between 10-15 years ago, they’ll be able to see the wear and tear of the facilities.

After this trip, Dunker said the plan is to visit pools around the St. Louis area with the full committee. He plans to use the Washington tourism bus to transport the committee.

“Some of these waterparks are astronomical in what it costs to build them,” he said. “I want to try and find something smaller to compare it with what we have.” 

Proposed Pool

A public forum was held in January to gather input from community members regarding what they’d like to see in a new pool. Roughly 30 people attended the forum.

Several community members suggested a zero entry pool which would allow parents to watch their children at different areas in the pool from one spot.

Other attendees commented on the current condition of the bathhouse at the Agnes Nolting Aquatics Complex.

Some expressed the need for an indoor pool, however, it was noted that it would be hard to accomplish with the current budget.

There is about $3.5 million set aside from the capital improvement sales tax that will be put toward building a new pool. That’s just for construction and design. Operating expenses would come directly from the park department’s budget.

After the forum, an online survey was made available to the public. More than 1,500 surveys were completed. The survey was closed in February.

The public engagement process concluded in March after the committee met with the pool consultant Counsilman-Hunsaker, St. Louis.

During that meeting, George Deines, Counsilman-Hunsaker project manager, presented data and information collected from the survey. He also presented three design options.