Monday, November 29, 2021

Additional issues may mean additional funds for Wallace Pool

Staff Reporter | October 15, 2021 7:00 AM

WALLACE — The ongoing work on Wallace’s beloved swimming pool is progressing on schedule, but a few additional items have officials slightly concerned.

According to Wallace City Councilwoman Heather Branstetter, the pool is 69% complete based upon the monies spent.

However, they needed to be at 80% complete in September in order to apply for a follow-on grant through the Panhandle Area Council and the Idaho Department of Commerce that would have allotted them some extra funds for anything that they weren’t already planning for.

The pool has sat empty for the past three years after mysteriously losing thousands of gallons of water seemingly overnight with no explanation of where the water was going.

“We are going to need more money because there are more problems than we anticipated as far as cracks in the walls of the pool, as well as the pool deck needing to be sandblasted and repainted,” Branstetter said.

Branstetter understands these extra repairs can be frustrating, she believes that they may not be extra — but instead might actually be damages that happened in the time since the first repairs were discussed.

“I think there was probably more degradation in the meantime with the pool just sitting there empty,” she told the News-Press.

Despite the frustrations, the bottom drains have been installed, crawl space areas as well as drain-lines and gutters are all progressing.

A special meeting is scheduled for the near future to discuss the change orders for the project, including the additional items, but the pool is still on schedule for substantial completion by Mid-March 2022 and full completion by April of that same year.

The dollar amount of the additional work is unknown at this point, although Branstetter believes that at their current point it feels like money is already tight and additional repairs are only going to result in it getting tighter — which is where a follow-on grant will likely need to be sought after next summer.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a lot of money, but I think we are all expecting that we’ll have to go raise some more money,” Branstetter said. “But I don’t think it’s going to delay the opening of the pool next year. People are pretty committed to that. It’s a matter of getting to wherever we need to be to be open next summer because we can’t apply for that grant until the pool is already open.”

Other projects like the pool house and all of its amenities are yet to be completed, as well as some specific modifications to make it more compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).