Park board eyes financing for boiler replacement

Replacing the 39-year-old pool boiler will cost the district $152,460.

The North Whidbey Pool, Park and Recreation District commissioners voted in a special meeting last Friday to replace the boiler at the John Vanderzicht Memorial Pool.

The vote authorized District Director Jay Cochran to sign a contract with Northwest Thermal Hydronics, LLC to replace the 39-year-old boiler for $152,460, but the commissioners have not yet reached a decision on how to fund the project.

Because interest rates are currently low, Cochran said she and the district commissioners believe it would be advantageous to finance the project through bonds instead of paying out of pocket, so the district could keep money on hand for other projects.

The commissioners could potentially work through a number of different avenues, including private investors and state programs, and will continue researching their options until they find one that best suits the district’s financial needs.

The boiler replacement is scheduled for the week of Dec. 27.

Though the district has undertaken a number of maintenance projects in their aging facility in recent years, including replumbing the building, the boiler replacement in particular has been a long time coming.

Many individual pieces of the boiler have been replaced over the years.

The boiler is currently still working — surprisingly, Cochran said — and the pool is open, but the equipment is approaching the end of its lifespan.

“It’s just better at this point to stop repairing all the little pieces and replace it all and get that one to last for the next 20 years,” Cochran said.

The boiler replacement isn’t the only forthcoming upgrade; the district announced Aug. 11 that state Rep. Dave Paul secured $250,000 for repairs and partial replacement of the pool roof in the state’s 2021 capital budget.

The roof repairs and boiler replacement were the projects that Cochran was specifically tasked with addressing when she was hired as director last year.

Though the various maintenance projects have hefty price tags, board of commissioners Chairperson Christopher Wiegenstein said the pool is well worth the investment.

“We want it to be a place of pride for our community,” he said.

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