After 40 years going virtually untouched, the Macon County recreation pool complex will officially get an upgrade this fall. During their regularly scheduled meeting Tuesday night, commissioners unanimously voted to award two bids totaling $546,000 to give a complete upgrade to Macon County's pool and pool-house.
Commissioners voted to award Augusta Aquatics the $338,500 contract for the pool portion of the project. Seth Adams, director of Macon County Recreation Department, said that the company originally submitted the lowest bid at $360,142, but he was able to negotiate the price down to save the county nearly $22,000. “Augusta Aquatics came highly recommended by Aquatics H2O, the firm that drafted the plans for the pool,” said Adams. “They are a larger company and said that this project will be the smallest project they do all year, which made me feel better about it.”
During the public comment portion of the meeting, Macon County residents spoke to thank commissioners for their commitment to build the pool to benefit the families in the area. Dwain Picou, coach for the Macon County's youth swim team told commissioners that he used to be embarrassed to hold meets here. “I just wanted to thank you for considering the upgrade to the pool, which is greatly needed,” said Picou. “When we hold meets I would be embarrassed to have the visiting teams pass through our locker rooms ... because it was just falling apart.”
According to Picou, more than 100 kids participate on the recreation park's swim team, and when they can not use the Macon County facility, they have to ride buses to Rabun County to use the pool there.
Macon County resident Alicia Teague noted that as a mother of children who have grown up involved in youth sports, she was glad to know that the commissioners were making a commitment to provide the community with a safe facility that can be used by future generations.
Macon County parent Kim Terrell noted that the pool has not changed since she was a kid. “Over the years I have actually taken photographs of things that are wrong with the pool,” said Terrell. “The tiles are broken and literally coming up. There is a piece of metal sticking up, I assume from where a lifeguard stand used to be, but it is dangerous. Thank you for seeing these things and wanting to improve the pool for our children.”
Terrell also noted the importance of youth facilities to help keep children out of trouble and to cut down on childhood obesity.
The new pool will have a separate facility for children. The current pool is one body of water, which can provide problems if a younger child has an accident in the pool. By constructing a separate area for the kids, the pool staff would be able to avoid having to shut down the entire facility if an accident was to occur. The kiddie portion of the pool will have several above ground water structures for children to play in. The new facility will also have lanes for swim competitions to help local swim teams not have to travel as much to participate.
Commissioners bid out renovations to the poolhouse separately, and after receiving four bids, awarded the contract to the Franklin-based company, Kopp Construction. Architect Tom Ritter, who developed the plans for the pool-house renovations, informed commissioners that Kopp Construction not only had the lowest bid at $207,500, but that he reviewed the bid submittal to ensure the company has proper licensure and qualifications to complete the project. “In addition to having all the qualifications for the project, although we did not require it, Kopp's proposal informed us that in addition to being a Franklin company, he will also use as many local sub-contractors as he possibly can to ensure the project helps the community.
The pool-house will receive an overhaul and will be brought up to date for the showers and concession areas. According to Ritter, the pool-house will also get 60 lockers in both the boys and girls rooms for use by the people visiting the pool. Currently, the facility has no storage space.
The projects will begin this fall and according to Adams, will be ready for use by next spring. Both projects will be funded from the county's undesignated fund balances and will not require a loan or a tax increase.