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Pine Knoll pool project hits snag


April 25, 2013
By Debbie Gardner

debbieg@thereminder.com

EAST LONGMEADOW — Cost discrepancies have put plans to upgrade the aging pool at the Pine Knoll Recreation Area, located on Allen Street, on hold indefinitely.

Board of Selectmen Chair Paul Federici told Reminder Publications that only one contractor submitted a bid for the project, and that it "came in significantly higher than what was originally estimated."

Last fall, Nationwide Aquatic Consulting created a budget for the proposed project — an L-shaped pool with a beach entry to comply with Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA) access requirements — estimating a cost of between $350,000 and $450,000 to make these renovations to the Pine Knoll pool, including up to $100,000 for demolition. Residents approved spending up to $450,000 in Community Preservation Act funds to renovate the pool at the Oct.1, 2012, Special Town Meeting.

Federici said the contractor's bid came in at $750,000 to complete the project.

"We have to figure out why there is a difference [in the amounts] and if we want to go forward," Colin Drury, director of Recreation, said, adding that the decision to allot more funding to the project will first need to be approved by the Community Preservation Committee and then accepted by a town vote.

Federici said there is no plan at present to put the project out to re-bid in the near future. He further noted that the cost discrepancy compelled Drury to consult with members of the Recreation Commission to formulate a plan to keep the Pine Knoll pool in service for this summer.

Drury said the existing pool, which was constructed with "old technology, but good technology," would be retrofitted with a replacement chlorinating unit to "keep up with the number of kids that use it [during the camp season]." He added the pool's sand bed filtering system would also be getting some attention before the season opens.

Town of East Longmeadow Building Facilities Manager Bruce Fenney said the Department of Public Works would also be addressing issues with damaged concrete around the pool.

"We're going to have to do just the basic repairs, so we're still going to be losing water [daily from the pool]," Drury said.

His initial request to replace the pool had been based on the significant amount of daily water loss from the 57 year-old pool. When the proposed project was submitted to the Board of Selectmen last year Drury estimated the Pine Knoll installation lost "about 4,000 gallons of water per day [whereas] the typical loss for a pool is 281 gallons."

Federici said in addition to the necessary repairs, a handicapped pool lift would be installed before the pool opens to help bring the facility into ADA compliance for this season. Drury said the ADA upgrade would also include the addition of a set of transfer stairs.

Federici estimated it would cost approximately $6,000 to bring the pool into ADA compliance. This expense, along with the other necessary repairs, will be funded through the Recreation Department's Revolving Fund.

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