Turlock children and families hoping to jump into Columbia Pool this summer will have to find other waters to cool off in as the pool’s renovation will take longer than originally anticipated and more than double the cost.
The 64-year-old pool located on the westside of town has been closed since the summer of 2019 due to it being issued 18 safety violations.
Turlock planning division staff was directed to begin preparing plans to rehabilitate Columbia Pool in July 2021. After that City staff received information from Stanislaus County Environmental Health that the pool would have to be brought up to current health and building codes. Council approved a $1.8 million renovation last year to fix required safety violations, including removing a wall that divided the main pool and kiddie pool. However, since that time, more safety concerns have risen.
“In December, the staff was notified that the current filtration system would not meet current standards based on the size of the pool,” said Deputy Director of Development Services and Planning Manager Katie Quintero. “With these required changes to bring the pool up to current code; rehabilitating the pool outlined in the option that was selected by council in July, is not feasible.”
According to Quintero, the main pump at the pool has also stopped functioning which has made the maintenance staff spend large amounts of time hand chlorinating the pool. The planning division is now seeking to replace the pool, instead of rehabilitating it.
“Staff is also seeking approval to start demolition of the facilities so we don’t have to continue maintenance that we're currently doing,” said Quintero.
City staff recommended a noncompetitive pool of the same size, with a code compliant filtration system, pool heater, new decking around the pool, adding new building for restrooms and providing additional areas for shade and seating.
The original $1.8 million project is now expected to reach more than $4.4 million.
The Council approved 4-1 (with Councilmember Andrew Nosrati dissenting) to appropriate $2481,545 from the Cannabis Pilot Program funds and $3 million from American Rescue Plan Act funds for the design and construction of the new pool.
The new direction of the pool project was made as a change order under the current contract with O’Dell Engineering. Councilmember Nicole Larson questioned whether it would be appropriate to revisit the masterplan and start over with a new bid process for contractors. Quintero stated that if that was going to be the case, she wasn’t sure if the pool would be ready next summer.