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East County Monday, Apr. 1, 2019 4 months ago

Pool project goes to higher level in Lakewood Ranch

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APRIL FOOLS— New aquatics center will get plastic, above-ground pool.
by: Jay Heater Managing Editor

APRIL FOOLS — The new aquatics center at Premier will get its Olympic-sized swimming pool, but it won't be exactly what East County residents might have expected.

In a bold, cost-cutting measure, county planners have come to agreement with Tidal Pool Solutions, Inc., of Lincoln, Neb., to install a 164-foot by 82-foot, above ground pool that will sit adjacent to Premier's soccer complex.

The pool will be rectangular in length but in every aspect will be that of the typical backyard, above-ground pool, except that it will host 10 competition lanes and will be 9 feet, 10 inches from end to end.

Cost of the pool itself will be $275,000, and the supporting redwood deck, which has to be big enough to host a maximum of 400 swimmers and their families, will be another $600,000. More than $3 million has been set aside to build the pool, decking and accompanying locker rooms, restrooms and an administration office.

After researching the cost of regular Olympic-sized swimming pools, county planners discovered the cost would soar above $3 million for the pool and the filtering service alone. The entire complex was expected to cost more than $8 million.

That would have meant the county would have had some tough decisions, such as cancelling the construction of the 32-court pickleball complex. "Our county offices would have been stormed by seniors," said county pool chairwoman Klora Enne. 

A breakthrough came when county officials met with Tidal Pool Solutions executives who explained their new Dyna Invincible Plastic (DIP) which has more than four times the strength of normal above-ground pool plastic and has a 30-year guarantee from tearing or leaking. The material is 8,000 pounds per square inch puncture proof.

Enne and her staff of six other county employees then made a trip to Harpers, Kansas to see a Tidal Pool Solutions Olympic-sized pool they built for the Easy Living Trailer Park. The pool hosts more than 350 swimmers on a daily basis and just hosted the Little Fish State Championships. That pool was slightly smaller than the one that will be built in Lakewood Ranch, but it did have eight competition lanes to handle more than 800 swimmers through the course of the day.

"Once you get up on the deck, you would have never known it was an above-ground pool," Enne said. "And that pool was built 12 years ago and has held up to four tornadoes that have come through the area. We were convinced right on the spot."

Tidal Pool Solutions representatives then visited Lakewood Ranch to check the area. After finding a proper location, they began a rodent inspection to see what they might be dealing with directly under the pool floor. All burrowed tunnels must be removed so rodents can't eat their way up through the pool floor.

Once rodent-free, a rectangular steel wall will be built around the complex that will extend 20 feet into the ground to protect the area from any infestation in the future.

Construction is expected to begin this September with a completion date of November for the pool itself and July of 2020 for the entire complex.

"We can just snap the plastic sections into place," said Tidal Pool President Freda Stiles. "We will bring everything we need into Lakewood Ranch on three trucks. There is no real expertise needed to snap it together so we will hire local labor, probably a crew of eight. The real expertise comes in building the filtering system. We use our own employees for that task."

The county did accept bids on the project and it received three others, but Tidal Pool Solutions separated itself with the lowest price and also threw in 1,200 inflatable floats for children.

"We can use any color for the pool side we want," said Markus Spitts, a member of Enne's committee. "The feedback we received so far puts orange in the lead."

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