Urbana park board OKs expenses to keep pool on track

Urbana park board OKs expenses to keep pool on track

URBANA — Moving quickly to expedite construction of an outdoor aquatic center, the Urbana park board Wednesday approved two expenditures at a special meeting.

The park district hopes to open its new $8 million aquatic center in Crystal Lake Park by May 2013, said park district executive director Vicki Mayes. And she said the park district didn't want to delay until the regular November board meeting the approval of change orders and other spending.

"We didn't want to wait. We need to move as fast as we can," said Mayes. "I would expect that periodically throughout the construction we'll have a special meeting when we have change orders that exceed the staff's authority. We want to get it going."

The park board must approve any changes to construction contracts that total $20,000 or more.

The biggest expenditure approved Wednesday, about $36,565, is for a number of relatively minor changes requested by the Illinois Department of Public Health and the city of Urbana.

Additionally, contractors at the job site came across an unusually large piece of concrete left over from the original Crystal Lake Pool, Mayes said.

"We found during the excavation portions of the foundation for the original filter house from 1927. It was very difficult concrete to get out," she said, explaining that contractors had to use an 800-pound wrecking ball.

The other changes were related to substituting painted galvanized steel on exterior pillars and door frames for painted primed steel in order to make the surfaces more durable, Mayes said. The cost of the changes will come out of the project's contingency fund, she said.

Further, the park board authorized spending up to $27,600 with Midwest Engineering and Testing for materials testing at the job site.

Mayes said the project remains on schedule and that the first concrete pour for the pool project is scheduled for next week.

"They're hoping to get the floor of the pools poured before it gets really cold," she said.

The aquatic center will be the third generation of an outdoor swimming pool at the North Broadway Avenue site. The first outdoor public pool in Champaign-Urbana was built there in 1927. A second, smaller facility opened at the same location in 1980, using a bathhouse that had been built in 1958.

After the second pool was closed in 2008, in part because of concerns about its electrical systems, Urbana voters twice approved tax increases to pay for a third pool. In 2009, they OK'd paying to develop a concept plan for a pool. Two years later they approved a tax increase to pay for the design and construction of the facility.