Pool discussion center stage at Jeffco School Board meeting

Aging city pool could turn into aqua center for public and students

Bob Wooley
bwooley@coloradocommunitymedia.com
Posted 9/22/21

Meyers pool in Arvada is home to five Jeffco school swim and dive teams. In fact, Jeffco Public Schools is one of Meyers’ largest users, with more than 900 Jeffco students swimming there. The …

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Pool discussion center stage at Jeffco School Board meeting

Aging city pool could turn into aqua center for public and students

Posted

Meyers pool in Arvada is home to five Jeffco school swim and dive teams. In fact, Jeffco Public Schools is one of Meyers’ largest users, with more than 900 Jeffco students swimming there. The problem is the pool is almost 50 years old and is coming to the end of its useful life.

So, the City of Arvada, Jeffco Public Schools and Apex Parks and Recreation are considering joining forces, creating an IGA (intergovernmental agreement) to partner on replacing Meyers with a new North Area Aquatics Facility.

Preliminary cost estimates for the new facility are reported to be between $33-35 million. The partnership agreement currently being discussed calls for joint financing of the project by Arvada and Jeffco Public Schools. Apex would provide oversight and management of the facility, and would also fund operation deficits.

Gordon Reusink, Director of Vibrant Community and City Neighborhoods, presented the proposal to members of the Jeffco School Board earlier this month.

Reusink said plans for the facility include a 50-meter x 25-yard pool with on-deck seating for 300-400 people. The center will also feature separate warmer water and shallower pools and spectator seating for 800. 

Also, in the plan — locker rooms for men, women and officials, as well as universal changing rooms, a mechanical room, lobby and office space. 

If approved, the new facility will be built at the site of the current Meyers parking lot, keeping the existing pool open while the new facility is under construction. 

Once construction on the new aquatics center is complete, plans call for Meyers Pool to be demolished and turned into a parking area for the new facility, which is intended to accomodate the increased demand for the newer and larger facility. Additional parking would be built at Warder Elementary (owned by the District).

The IGA would call for Arvada to provide the land for the project and finance 50% of the project expenses through an annual debt service payment. 

Arvada would also fund an unspecified majority of the capital maintenance and replacement plan as project owner.

For its part, Jeffco School District would also provide land for the project (Warder Elementary School property). Jeffco Schools would be the lead agency in financing the project, financing 50% of project expenses through an annual debt service payment. As an equity partner, the District wouldn’t be charged user fees.

During discussions after the presentation, board member, Susan Miller, asked why the district had floated the idea of financing their share of the project’s expense rather than using bond premium from the 2018 Bond and Capital Improvement Program (CIP).

Steve Bell, Chief Operating Officer, Jeffco Schools, said the District has done extensive modeling for financing the project using the $35 million estimate. He said if financed for a term of 25 years, the project would cost around $2 million per year. Out of that, the District’s share would amount to around $1 million per year.

Bell said due to their credit-worthiness, the true interest cost of financing the District’s portion of the project would be around 2 - 2.5%. He also said that since Arvada wasn’t prepared to cash-fund their share of the cost, it would create an incompatible situation for the District to pay upfront and they felt it would be better to take advantage of the low interest rates and borrow the money instead.

In the end, Board President, Susan Harmon, asked District staff to bring more financing options and a clearer picture of the IGA to the board before the plan is revisited in October. 

Board member, Brad Rupert, said looming board elections called for acting with a sense of urgency in the matter. He said the current state of the Meyers Pool didn’t leave time for a new board to get up to speed on the project, cautioning the board not to “kick the can down the road.”

Jeffco also uses the Carmody Pool, Green Mountain Pool, Wheat Ridge Pool and Foothills at The Ridge. The newest of those pools, Foothills at The Ridge, opened in 2003. Carmody Pool is also nearly 50 years old.

Bell said at this point, there has been no request to renovate or rebuild from any of the other pools Jeffco swimmers use.

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