Despite boiler issues, Vashon Pool had successful summer

* 11/3/2017 This story has been updated to reflect sources of funding for the various pool improvements more accurately.

A hot summer and anticipation over the pool’s soon-to-be year-round usability helped the Vashon Pool come in more than $8,000 under-budget this season despite a boiler issue that put it out of commission for the month of June.

“We got off to a little rough start, but the community and staff hung in and showed their full support,” Vashon Park District (VPD) Aquatics Manager Scott Bonney said. “It was a very good year for the pool financially.”

The pool brought in $55,000 in revenue, roughly $4,000 less than budgeted, but Bonney said savings in labor, chemical costs and utilities — the pool was able to utilize its solar heating system instead of the boiler through much of the season — allowed for the under-budget finish.

The pool has been closed since the summer season ended in September, and more than $150,000 worth of work — funded from a variety of sources including VPD, Vashon’s Seals Swim Team, grants and VPD’s insurance company — is continuing to get the decades-old facility ready for year-round use. The inflatable bubble cover is expected to arrive and be erected over it later this month.

“The work over here is just really cranking along,” Bonney said.

According to VPD Executive Director Elaine Ott-Rocheford, the district expected to be responsible for $112,766 worth of the work, with most of that funding coming from a $75,000 King County Youth Sports Facilities grant, which also has a 50 percent match component that is being funded by both VPD and the Seals. The grant money could only be used for certain projects such as boiler and filter room repairs and Ott-Rocheford said the district is about $4,000 under-budget on those grant-funded projects. However, she also said the district is $21,000 over budget on non-grant items the district decided to address, including cleaning the pool, fixing the pool lighting and conducting engineering work for ADA locker room upgrades. In total, about $45,000 worth of work is coming from taxpayer dollars.

“VPD’s financial involvement has been minimal,” Ott-Rocheford said. “We have been very intentional about finding outside sources of funding, as we intend to be for all capital projects going forward.”

The Seals — who spearheaded the effort to cover the pool and are purchasing the $83,000 bubble itself — are contributing tens of thousands of dollars more for infrastructure specific to the bubble cover (heating, lighting, and ventilation). The team has raised $100,000, and a Memorandum of Understanding between the Seals and VPD was approved by park board commissioners Oct. 24.

“It’s moving forward and we’re super excited,” Seals Board President Karin Choo said last week.

Empty since late September, the pool is set to be refilled by next week. The bubble should be placed over it soon after and then it will open to the public.

Public swim hours from November to April will consist of lap swim from 6 to 9 a.m. Mondays and Wednesdays; open/lap swim sessions from 12 to 3 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays and noon to 5 p.m. Saturdays. The pool will be closed Sundays. A different schedule has been drafted for school break weeks and can be found online at vashonparks.org/vashon-pool.


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