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New pool, rec center may cost $15.2 million

A recreation/aquatics center costing $15.2 million may — or may not — be on November’s ballot.

South Whidbey Parks & Recreation District officials are uncertain whether to move forward with their plan to tax voters and are holding two meetings this week to hash out the details.

The recreation and aquatic center is proposed to be built next to the Community Park’s entrance on Maxwelton Road. If a final plan can be established, the district must file with the county by Aug. 12 to be on the ballot.

“We don’t know yet if the architects have all the data needed for us to go forward,” said Park Commissioner Matt Simms. “But we feel it’s important to keep it on the table.”

The initial draft plan from O.R.B. Architects includes a leisure pool with water slide, changing rooms, a hot tub, two multi-purpose rooms for parties, offices, a kitchen, a climbing wall and a fitness center.

The largest cost involves the pool at $2.3 million and the total includes $1.8 million for mechanical equipment and miscellaneous storage.

The average cost per square foot is estimated at $254.

Parks officials have not said how much the facility will cost to maintain and operate on a yearly basis.

The center’s design, tax increase and duration of the proposed bond is the subject of tonight’s regular meeting; 7:30 p.m. at the South Whidbey Community Health Services building, 5475 Maxwelton Road in Langley.

Park commissioners acknowledge they don’t have the details to safely go before voters. Yet.

“I want to wait until we’re finished with the feasibility study; we don’t have any details so far,” said Park Commissioner Allison Tapert.

Tapert added that having all the data within the next month is a very ambitious timeline.

“We need five-year projections on revenues and expenditures, for example,” she said. “If we don’t have the answers, how can we move forward?”

Over the last two months, O.R.B. Architects has been conducting feasibility and demographic studies on the project. Representatives from the firm plan to discuss design possibilities, construction and maintenance costs, revenue programs and the chances of qualifying for November’s ballot at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, July 17 at Langley’s United Methodist Church.

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