The Blaine County Aquatic Center will have a new leisure pool by next summer.

Action by two decision-making bodies has put a renovation and construction of additions to the Aquatic Center in Hailey on track to begin this fall.

On Friday, June 28, the board of directors for the Blaine County Recreation District unanimously approved a $1.5 million base bid for the project from Conrad Brothers Construction. The bid includes the addition of a leisure pool to the center, along with renovations to the existing lap pool, upgrades to the mechanical systems and overall site improvements.

On Monday, the Hailey Planning and Zoning Commission approved a design review application for the project.

The Aquatics Center was built in the 1980s and has served a generation of Blaine County residents with summer swimming activities.

“My daughter is now 25 and she just loved that pool,” P&Z Chairwoman Janet Fugate said.

While the BCRD was looking to add a hot tub to the space, the board voted to hold off, opting instead to install the necessary piping below deck, which provides an option to more efficiently add a whirlpool in the future. Construction of a hot tub could start as early as next summer.

The alteration is meant to focus on the intended goal of the Aquatics Center: teaching children how to swim. The Aquatics Center sees an average of 450 kids per summer that participate in swim school instruction, and the BCRD is looking to expand to teach 675 children each year. The accepted bid is just another step in accomplishing that goal, said BCRD Executive Director Jim Keating.

The budgeted targets also include options for “value engineering”—minor, money-saving modifications that still comply with code standards.

With the savings from the value engineering, the revised bid amount returns to the BCRD’s intended goal, around $1.5 million. The overall project is expected to cost around $2.5 million, with $500,000 toward a bathhouse renovation, phase one of the endeavor, already completed.

 The fundraising target for the remainder of the project will remain the same at $2 million, with $1.65 million raised for phase two so far.

“We still have fundraising to do, but we’ve reached the point where the board is comfortable moving forward with this project,” Keating said.

After the pool closes for the summer, lap pool renovations and construction of the leisure pool will start this fall.

Landscape architect Marty Lyon presented plans for the Aqua-

tics Center expansion Monday to the Hailey P&Z during a public design review hearing.

The plans call for a “zero entry”

leisure pool, which means the

depth of the pool will increase

gradually from the pool’s edge, from

about an inch deep to 5 feet deep.

The leisure pool will be built in an area where a dirt cycling pump park exists now. The pump park will be removed to BCRD-owned property at the mouth of Croy Canyon, Keating said.

The expanded Aquatics Center will include a wide field of concrete for activities around both pools and an 8-foot black chain-link fence surrounding the property.

Lyon said the population of Hailey has increased “dramatically” since the pool was built in the mid-1980s, necessitating an expansion.

“This expansion will double the usable space for the community,” he said.

The fall and spring seasons offer narrow windows to build, in order to work around the busy summer and snowy winter. When the snow clears, site improvements such as fencing, landscaping and decking will commence in spring 2020.

“We’re really excited about this project,” Keating said. “We have an opportunity to enrich the existing space and engage the community in this beautiful spot. It’s really important for Hailey and the surrounding area.”

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