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Fidalgo pool plan moves forward

October 3, 2018

The Fidalgo Pool & Fitness Center in Anacortes will get a complete makeover that includes having two pools.

ANACORTES — The Fidalgo Pool & Fitness Center District commissioners voted unanimously Monday to move forward with a $28.4 million plan to upgrade the Anacortes facility.

The proposed design includes replacing the current pool with two pools at different temperatures — a warmer recreational pool and a cooler lap swim pool.

The cost and design specifics are likely to change as the design is refined to meet the community’s needs, Commissioner Jeremy McNett said at Monday’s meeting.

Commissioner Andrew Olson said district staff hope to raise about half of the project’s cost through fundraising. The district would ask voters to approve a bond for the remaining amount in 2020, one year before the pool’s six-year maintenance levy needs to be renewed.

A $15 million bond would cost $100 per year for property owners within the district with a $437,400 house, Everton told the Skagit Valley Herald.

The costs of other options ranged from $2.5 million to $11.6 million, and involved renovating the existing pool and adding another pool, or simply renovating the existing facility. Those options, which would have shut down the existing pool for five to eight months during construction, are now off the table.

The current facility’s structural shortcomings and the need to extend the current pool’s life by more than a few years were among reasons cited by commissioners for choosing the $28.4 million option.

There will be further public workshops to work on the details of the plan, McNett said.

One decision that will need to be made is whether to keep the facility’s current fitness center or to demolish it and construct a new, larger fitness center.

Construction is estimated to take 16 months, and the current facility will remain open throughout that time.

The need for changes at the pool have been adding up since the early 2000s, center Executive Director Mitch Everton said previously.

He said the facility, which was built in 1975, has its share of structural challenges — including lacking a sprinkler system, not being up to seismic code, lacking administrative space and not being compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

In 2016, the center sent out a survey to district residents asking what they would like to see in a new facility.

About 700 responded. Heating and air conditioning updates, fire sprinklers, locker room remodels, ADA compliance, family locker rooms and a pool warm enough for physical therapy were among the top requests.

Compared to the other options considered, the plan approved by the pool commission accomplishes most of those goals, Everton said.

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