City mulls ideas for outdoor pool componentsMembers of the Worthington City Council spent more than an hour Friday listening to architects discuss pool options for the outdoor component of a planned city-YMCA venture.
By: Julie Buntjer, Worthington Daily Globe
WORTHINGTON — Members of the Worthington City Council spent more than an hour Friday listening to architects discuss pool options for the outdoor component of a planned city-YMCA venture.
Andy Johnson, the Worthington Area YMCA’s executive director, was joined by Victor Pechaty with BKV Group of Minneapolis and Tom Schaffer, aquatics consultant with USAquatics of Delano, to present information on the facility, which will be constructed on the Minnesota West Community and Technical College campus. Also in attendance were members of the YMCA board of directors.
As Johnson explained, Friday’s meeting was the first step of a rejuvenated project that has been on the YMCA’s drawing board for more than a decade. The city opted to partner with the YMCA on an aquatics center at a special meeting April 30, and Johnson said he is hopeful construction can get started as early as late summer or early fall.
“Actual construction takes about 10 to 12 months,” Johnson said. “There’s so many things that have to happen (before construction).”
Much of Friday’s meeting was filled with a Power Point presentation and discussion that included photos of aquatics projects designed and built by USAquatics for communities throughout the region. Pechaty said they weren’t looking for any decisions to be made by the council on Friday, but rather some direction for the architects to begin working on design for the facility.
The indoor aquatics facility will include a six-lane lap pool, a recreational pool with a 0-depth entry, a plunge pool for the water slide and a recreational diving board.
The outdoor pool, on the other hand, will include a 0-depth entry pool that progresses to a depth of 3 feet before entering a recreational pool that goes from 3 feet to 5 feet. There will be an area designated for a drop slide as well.
Mayor Alan Oberloh said he liked the outdoor pool design that incorporated everything in one body of water, adding that it will be easier for parents to keep an eye on their children.
In presenting different aquatic features available for outdoor pools, Schaffer said an activity or recreational pool is important for a community facility.
“These activity pools really draw kids between eight and 13,” Schaffer said. “(That age group) is more neglected in pools. We find we have a lot for the older kids and we have a lot for the toddlers.”
Among the ideas the council focused on were the inclusion of an aqua climb (climbing wall), basketball hoops and drop slide to address the pre-teen and teenage groups.
Johnson said about 60 percent of pool users are between ages five and 12, and the busiest area of the outdoor pool is in the 3- to 5-foot water depth.
The council also voiced support for a sitting island in the new outdoor pool. The island would have a single pole canopy extending from it to provide a shady rest area for children and adults in a shallow area of the pool.
With the comments collected from the City Council on Friday, Johnson said the architects will return to Worthington in a couple of week with designs to present. After that, he said a design committee that will include representatives of the city and the YMCA will meet on a biweekly basis to complete the plans.
The only other item on Friday’s agenda was to formally name Gary Hoffmann as the interim city administrator.
“I’m sure it’s going to be interesting and I hope it’s short,” Hoffmann said with a smile after a unanimous vote was cast.