Aquatic center sketch

Sketch of the proposed aquatic center by Kimmel Bogrette Architecture + Site Inc.

For those who have been wondering what a multimillion-dollar aquatic center would look like, Peters Township provided a visual answer.

Residents attending open-house informational sessions Wednesday were able to see a three-dimensional “flyover” animation depicting swimming pools and related amenities that are on the drawing board for a new facility at Rolling Hills Park.

Township manager Paul Lauer answered questions about the project during a pair of sessions in council chambers at Peters’ municipal building.

A total of $10.8 million has been budgeted for the aquatic center. Council rejected all bids in May when the lowest came in at $11.482 million.

“The pool, itself, actually came in where we thought it would be,” Lauer said about the main swimming area. “Where the project is out of line with the budget is actually on the building and the site work.”

Following the bid rejection, project architect Kimmel Bogrette Architecture + Site Inc. developed a “value engineering report,” dated July 8, copies of which were provided to open-house guests.

“We’re in the process of the redesigning sections, and before we do that, we wanted to talk to people to get their input,” Lauer said, encouraging residents to complete a survey either on paper or online.

Kimmel Bogrette’s report compiles items for possible removal from the project, with “total savings offered” between $1.936 million and $2.376 million.

Also available at the open-house sessions and on the township’s website is a fact sheet addressing the potential impact of the aquatic center’s construction on taxpayers.

“While the township has applied for state and federal grants to offset a portion of the cost for the purpose of this analysis, it is assumed that Peters Township will be issuing a 30-year bond to finance the total cost of the project,” the fact sheet states. “The incremental annual debt service needed to finance this project is estimated to be approximately $302,000.”

Based on a municipal real estate tax increase of one-tenth of a mill to cover the debt payments, owners of property with an assessed value of $300,000, near the average and median amounts in Peters, would be taxed at an additional $30 per year.

Lauer said the township also is pursuing two projects that both have anticipated costs in the range of $5 million: building a new fire substation on Bebout Road and making state-mandated improvements to the Peters Lake dam.

  • The aquatic center has been designed with amenities including a children’s pool, lap pool, spray park, sliding boards, “lazy river” tubing feature and picnic pavilions. A market study by BallardKing Associates Ltd. of Colorado advises such a concept represents “the hottest trend in aquatics.”
  • “This idea has proven to be financially successful by centralizing pool operations for communities and through increased generation of revenues from patrons willing to pay for an aquatics experience that is new and exciting,” BallardKing’s report states.

By contrast, indoor pools “rarely can cover their costs of operation” because of a variety of factors including higher costs for staffing, maintenance and equipment replacement, according to the study.

The new Peters Township High School features a natatorium that eventually could be available for public use, Lauer said, but no specifics have been determined so far.

At the council level, votes on measures related to the aquatic center generally have been 4-3 in favor. Based primary election results, three new council members will begin their terms in January.

For more information about the proposed Peters Township aquatic facility, visit www.peterstownship.com/CivicAlerts.aspx?AID=153.

Multimedia Reporter

Staff writer Harry Funk, a professional journalist for three-plus decades, has been on the staff of The Almanac since 2015. He has a bachelor’s degree in journalism and master of business administration, both from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

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