City asked to sink additional $160,000 into swimming pool

Despite efforts to keep the Carson Aquatic Facility under budget, Parks and Recreation Director Steve Kastens will ask city supervisors Thursday for extra money to finish the construction project.

It is about four months behind schedule and $43,000 over budget. Rather than cut items from the project, Kastens is requesting an extra $160,000.

"I have reviewed the plans for the remaining phase of the project and have come to the conclusion that reducing the scope of work would defeat the original intent of this project as presented to the public," Kastens said. "I agonized over this. I don't take my job of overseeing Question 18 funds lightly."

The $3.6 million project had a 5 percent contingency - around $175,000 - which was eaten up by design modifications, overtime costs and a swim meet. The project lost days due to the swim meet, relocation of a power pole and weather.

Phase I of the project, which included enclosing the 50-meter pool, working on outside heating and air conditioning and reconfiguring the dressing rooms, was finished Oct. 28, well past the June 17 deadline.

Phase II, which should be finished in January, includes demolition of the building surrounding the 25-meter pool, construction of a therapy pool and building around the pool, a slide for the 25-yard pool and reconstruction of the facility's mechanical room.

Supervisor Jon Plank, who also serves as a parks and recreation commissioner, said he expected the project to run over budget but was surprised by the $160,000 request.

"I have a hesitation to start cutting back on what we planned to build," Plank said. "That's what we wound up with when we got the Pony Express Pavilion. We need to complete what we said we would complete. We don't need another white elephant out there."

Supervisors can opt to cut something from the project, but Kastens said that is difficult considering the water slide is paid for and ready for installation and removing the therapy pool would be "a major reduction in our original plan." Kastens said so many parts of the complex are related that cutting one out doesn't make sense.

"We knew this was going to be a tight project," Kastens said. "There wasn't any real easy or practical solution to this because it's all tied together."

If approved, the extra money will come from the Quality of Life fund. The fund took in extra interest and sales tax earnings this year, and pulling money from it shouldn't stall any other projects, Kastens said.


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