Replacing Aging Pools

Aug 12, 2014

Swimmers enjoy the Vermillion City Pool during the final days of summer. Vermillion is seeking to replace their 50-year-old pool as a part of a park renovation.
Credit Heidi Kronaizl

  Diving into a pool is a great way to cool off on a hot and humid summer day. While many towns across the state have aging pools, the process of getting new pools and upkeep isn’t so easy on a small town budget.

The sound may never get old of summer time at the pool. But pools get old. The Vermillion City Pool is almost 50. Because that’s the expected lifespan of any pool, the city is looking to build a new one. Jim Goblirsch is the Director of the Vermillion City Parks and Recreation. He says the current pool has 2-inch wide cracks and leaks about 12,000 gallons of water a day.

“It’s tough to start filling in big holes,” Goblirsch says. “You know if you punch a hole in your sheetrock and you have a big thing here you can’t just use spackle to do that. You have to cut out a bigger piece and put it in there then spackle all around it and blend it in. So we’re getting to that point with that pool that it’s deteriorated.”

Goblirsch reassures that the pool is safe and ADA compliant.

In effort to build a new pool the city has formed a committee to come up with a conceptual design by October. Vermillion citizens will vote on a $3 million bond issue to help fund the new pool and park renovation.

While Vermillion is set up to vote on funding for a pool, Mobridge has trudged through setting up resources for its pool. Officials in Mobridge demolished its pool two years ago. A failed property tax increase last year has left the community without a place to cool off for two years. Amy Cerney serves on the Mobridge City Council and pool committee. She says issues were clear after setting up the pool for bid.

“Part of the problem we ran into is our timeline. We really wanted construction to start this year, this summer with an opening of next summer. So we had a pretty tight timeline and what we found is that a lot of the companies who build pools already had commitments and so they didn’t bid our pool,” Cerney says.

The pool project was scaled down from $4.5 million to $2.5 million. The pool was set up for bid a second time. The City of Mobridge accepted a bid of just over $3 million. Through several pledges, raised property taxes and a $2.5 million dollar bond the city of Mobridge is able to begin construction on the pool. Even though there were several roadblocks with the process Cerney says the project is important to the citizens in Mobridge.

“We don’t really have a place where our kids can swim, which seems silly with us being right on the river, but we don’t,” Cerney says. “Second of all we do have a very active community with boating and fishing and it is essential to teach kids to swim. And right now we don’t offer that as a community.”

The pool is set for completion by the summer of 2016. As construction for Mobridge is about to begin, it concludes for another South Dakota town.

LaRon Klock is the Director of Parks and Recreation for the city of Huron. He says Huron is about to complete its first full season with its new aquatic center. The Splash Central Waterpark is built on the campus of what once was Huron College. The water park includes a lazy river, tube slides, obstacle course, an Olympic-sized swimming pool and a water coaster.

“At times we’re near capacity here, and last year I would say we were at capacity a few days,” Klock says. “We were lucky enough to work with one-third grant funding, one-third funding from the city and one–third funding from the general public; and it all came together very well.”

Klock says that the city benefits from the new aquatic center.

“Well I think it gives another recreational opportunity that we really haven’t enjoyed here for a long time that other first class cities in South Dakota may have had and we took the next step and made it as good as it could be for the area we have,” Klock says.

Klock says the aquatic center is looking to expand in the near future and bring more features to the waterpark.