Our 1930 vintage pool may be the oldest operating indoor pool in the country.
We have a 90 year tradition of teaching all local school children to swim by the time they leave 5th grade. This tradition must invariably end at some point because refurbishing the old pool would be economically unfeasible, and it is far beyond a normal lifespan.
Efforts to build a new pool have been going on for over 15 years now. At the July board meeting it was decided to put a bond measure on the November ballot for $4,335,000 as part of a new pool financing package.
The estimated tax rate for the bond is 13.35 cents per $1,000 in taxable assessed property value. A loan of $3,000,000 (net of fees) is also now in the works. We have $2,013,658 in our dedicated pool fund, and together these three funding sources will allow the construction of a new, larger pool that meets current standards and codes. If the bond passes, we hope to be able to break ground in late 2021.
We appreciate all the support we have received over the years: over 550 private donors; three foundation grants; and over 1,750 signatures in support of the new pool.
NEW POOL BOND MEASURE FAQ'S
Does "estimated $.1335" mean it could be more?
NCRD has contracted with the Special Districts Association of Oregon to provide the technical advice for the bond. Our consultant has over 25 years of experience with municipal bonds. His estimate of .1335/$1,000 (or, stated another way, 13.35 cents per $1,000) is based on information provided from the Assessor’s office for our district. This is required to be an estimate. The rate is expected to be very close to this, but it cannot be guaranteed because there can always be some changes in property values in the district.
What are the plans to pay back a $3,000,000 loan?
For years NCRD has put $100,000 to $200,000 of its timber tax revenue toward the new pool dedicated fund. These funds would now be used to repay the loan since the pool will be completed. In addition, the costly repairs and maintenance for the 90 year old pool are projected to decrease significantly with the new systems.
Does NCRD pay for swim lessons for all kids from District 53 or only those from Nehalem Elementary?
NCRD currently receives $9,826 for the school swim program for Nehalem Elementary students. The annual Pool-A-Thon fundraiser contributes another $18,500. Other program costs are included in the Aquatics operating budget.
What part of operations for the new pool will come from fees from swimmers?
Aquatics user fees are currently budgeted at $45,000 annually and are projected to increase by $11,250 in the new larger pool.
About what percent of people in the district use the pool in an average month?
Last year we averaged about 643 patrons per month, which does include some with multiple visits, and an average of 2,650 visits per month. Over the last 90 years, an estimated 10,000 elementary school children have learned to swim in the pool. Many other swim patrons are adults, seniors, and persons with health challenges.
What are plans for the old pool after opening the new one?
The old pool will first be de-commissioned and closed off. It cannot be demolished because the entire south wing of the building is built over it. Eventually some other use for the pool could be developed.
Why are we just hearing about the bond measure now?
The new pool has been a major topic of discussion for well over 15 years. The current capital campaign was started in 2017 with new pool information mailed out to around 3,000 property owners and residents annually. The bond measure has been on the board meeting agenda 9 times since June, 2019, and the agenda is posted at the Nehalem, Manzanita, and Wheeler post offices. A number of members of the community receive the board agenda and related information monthly. The board resolution to have the bond was approved July 23, 2020. The ballot title was published in the Headlight Herald August 5, 2020. The article about the bond measure was posted on the new NCRD website in September,and included in the Fall newsletter which was mailed out September 30.
KEY OPERATING STATISTICS
Operating costs (Annual) by major category (C=Current Facility, N=New Facility):
1. Capacity - C=75, N=125
2. Salary - C=$347.898, N=$382,688
3. Electricity - C=$4,200, N=$6,300 (150%)
4. Oil - C=$28,000, N=$25,200 (90%)
5. Water - C=$1,900, N=$1,475 (75%)
6. Pool Chemicals - C=$13,000, N=$9,750 (75%)
Water Filtration Systems:
Current Facility - Cartridge filters, chlorine tablet erosion feeder, muriatic acid PH control.
New Facility - Rapid-sand filters plus UV, chlorine tablet erosion feeder, carbon dioxide PH control.
Water Heating Systems:
Current Facility - Oil-fired steam, steam heat exchanger.
New Facility - Oil-fired boiler with modern flat plate heat exchanger.
Current Facility - Poor. Virtually all of the original equipment installed in the 1983 upgrade has been abandoned or removed. Currently, the natatorium is only served by two main exhaust fans. No makeup air system is installed. There are no locker room exhaust fans.
New Facility - Heat recovery ventilation unit for natatorium, heat recovery ventilation unit for locker rooms, office and lobby heating and ventilating unit with economizer
Current Facility - We currently have one pool at 86°, this is a medium temperature suitable for our arthritis program and the Learn to Swim classes.
New Facility - The new facility will have a large main Pool at 85°. The bulk of programming will be done in this Pool, including Learn to Swim, Water Fitness classes, Swim Team, Lap Swim and all recreational swims. We will also have a small warm water therapy pool at 88°/89°. We will have the arthritis class, water therapy and the toddler swim class in this pool.
Fee structure: The fees will start out the same as they are at the time we transition to the new facility. Our current fee structure is in line with other recreation districts and we will continue that practice.
Hours of Operation: Hours of operations will also be similar to those we have at the time we transition. We will expand hours according to usage and demand in accordance with funds available in our budget.
New pool utility cost considerations: Included will be much more effective heat recovery systems using modern heat exchangers. Air distribution will be more uniform, reducing need for added ventilation air. The building will be constructed with significantly higher insulating values in walls and windows, plus significantly increased natural light. The old pool has a gutter drain system that empties into the sewer system at a rate up to 2.5 gallons per minute. This means that the cost of the water, heating that water, and treating that water with chemicals is literally going down the drain. The new pool will save by re-circulating water. The Executive Director of Sunset Empire Recreation District (Seaside) states: “I feel confident in saying that operational expenses will be significantly lower for a new pool than an old pool. The efficiency of the building alone is worthwhile, in my opinion. Then you add the efficiency of the heating and cooling systems, water filtration systems, chemicals, and lighting… all of these are significant financial challenges for our district, and your pool is obviously much older. I think a new pool and system would be much more efficient.”
The new pool will also generate additional user fees,currently at $45,000, which even at a 25% increase at current rates would generate about $11,250. This will also increase even more if we host swim competitions, larger pool parties which will be possible, and other kinds of events. The greatly expanded warm water pool would attract more patrons seeking this attraction, particularly with our seniors and persons with disabilities. Salary estimates are based on several fixed cost supervisory positions remaining stable, and a 10% increase in variable cost positions like lifeguards and instructors. As is always the case, we will work within the budget constraints that exist. With the addition of a concession stand in the lobby there would be some additional funds from sales.
Other cost considerations: The existing pool has many components which are old, outdated technology. These have often created significant expenses. The main pump motor was moved to the pool deck many years ago because it was so far from the pool it created major problems with water circulation. This was a design flaw that we work around but it is much less efficient than a modern system. As a result, pool operations require more staff time. Chemicals and materials have to be moved all the way from the Fitness Center entrance to the boiler room on the other side of the building, which takes additional staff time. The boiler can only be serviced by certified boiler technicians and when there are problems a service call costs $1,100 and up. In one three month period we paid over$14,000 for emergency service calls. The old and very small freight elevator that we use to assist patrons who use a wheelchair requires an annual service contract, and one recent repair bill was over $5,000.
BUILDING CONSTRUCTION RELATED
Dimensions of current pool/wading pool/ decks- capacity limit:
Pool: 75'x30'; Wading: 6' x 30'; - Pool Capacity 75persons. Decks: 1,190 sf
Dimensions of new pool, therapy pool, hot tub/decks- capacity limits:
Pool: 75'x45'; Therapy: 24' x 48'; Hot Tub: 7' -6" x 9'-6" – Total Capacity 125 persons. Decks: 4,913 sf
ADA Accessibility: There is no comparison. The current natatorium can only be accessed indirectly by an ancient back room freight elevator not designed for use by patrons. The regular pool entrance is located on a steep hillside, with stairs up to the door, stairs down to a landing, and stairs down to the locker rooms, and obstacles on the floor after that. Our existing pool is probably one of the most inaccessible pools in existence and this inevitably discourages a number of potential users. The pool, its extremely narrow pool decks, and locker rooms are all non-compliant. The new facility will have full ADA accessibility to all spaces and pools which means that a mobility-challenged user will encounter no stairs or obstacles whatsoever.
Parking capacity: In front of new pool - 4 handicapped and 21 regular spaces. B Street lot - 42 regular spaces
Green certification: LEED or similar may be pursued if desired. LEED principles can be applied without pursuing certification.
Solar: The architect’s cost estimate includes $103,992 for solar, which could include active solar water heating. Day lighting will also help lower heating costs.
Architectural design: The current conceptual design is compatible with existing buildings. The building has specific internal material and finish requirements due to the wet and humid environment. The exterior materials and finishes can address respectful compatibility with existing building style from an earlier era, without trying to look like it was always there. Site constraints drive the need for the west wall to be a full height retaining wall, essentially creating a three-sided building, but will also serve to stabilize back for building above. The building height is limited in order to respect views from the building above.
Architect: Robertson/Sherwood Architects was selected through an open Request for Proposal process. They have a 30-year record of planning and design of aquatic facilities throughout Oregon including pools in Astoria, Newport, Coquille, Hillsboro, North Clackamas Aquatic Park, Boardman, Hermiston, LaGrande, Dallas, Silverton, Springfield (2), Eugene (2), and the University of Oregon.
Project Manager: The NCRD Executive Director, who has managed many capital campaigns and construction projects.
Future of the old pool: The old pool can not be demolished because a number of rooms in the main building are built over it. It could be filled with sand and re-purposed or it could be permanently de-commissioned. There will be plenty of time to consider options later.
Seismic issues/ground stability: The new pool will meet all current seismic building codes. A geo technical survey was completed some years ago which determined that the location for the new pool was satisfactory.
Swimming program changes: The major difference will be in capacity. This will potentially allow 2 activities to go on at once. For example, there could be lanes open for lap swim during an aerobics class. We could have people in the therapy pool doing rehabilitation while the swim team is practicing in the main pool. Many activities which require additional space on the pool deck will now be possible. Parents, for example, will be able to observe their children in different swim activities. We will also be able to host swim meets. This will be a great benefit since we have a strong following for our elementary swim team already. We could also host water fitness workshops which could be an additional source of revenue.
Neah-Kah-Nie School District Opportunities: There could be a number of new swim opportunities with the Middle School or High School Swim Teams.
Coordination with Health Providers: We currently partner with Rinehart Clinic, which has received grants supporting the use of our pool. The addition of the warm water pool will allow us to offer even more water therapy.
Off-season benefits: In this climate the off-season benefits are numerous. It will provide a warm and inviting place for our local youth to enjoy healthy physical activity and our adult population to swim and work out. It will attract new visitors who need something to do on rainy winter days. This will help the local economy at a time when businesses are generally slow.
ADDITIONAL FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Why can't you renovate the old pool? What are the grave circumstances that will likely permanently close the old pool?
There is no possible way to bring the current pool up to code no matter what we do or how much we are willing to spend. The configuration of the natatorium prohibits it from ever being totally ADA accessible. The State of Oregon is only allowing us to continue to operate it as long as we are seriously moving towards replacing it. The pipes and drains going to and from the pool are already failing and need constant attention. At some point in the not too distant future they will fail beyond the ability to repair.
How are other pools funded?
The Seaside pool is funded by a tax base of .92/1000 of assessed property value. NCRD’s permanent tax base is .3861/1000 plus an option tax levy of .40/1000 for a total of .7861/1000. YMCA in Tillamook has its own corporate brand with local and national funding sources including the United Way.
How will the new pool be funded?
We have over $2 million in our dedicated pool fund which came from a combination of donations and timber tax revenue. We will borrow $3 million so we will have over $5 million on hand. Our bond we are asking the voters to approve will be for the balance needed to fund the pool, $4.2million. At this time we estimate the bond would add about .14/1000 of assessed value. On a property valued at $400,000 this would mean somewhere near $56 per year additional, or $4.67 per month. We would enlist a citizen committee to review our use of the bond proceeds.
How will the $3 million loan be paid for?
For quite a few years we set aside anywhere from $100,000 to $200,000 per year in the dedicated pool fund, typically from our timber tax revenues. Since we will be building the new pool, we will no longer need to be saving for a new pool. Our estimated annual payment for the loan is around $187,000 and it would come from our timber tax revenues. These have averaged around $350,000 per year.
What about other NCRD debts?
NCRD has been debt free so this loan will be our only debt service obligation.
What about other needed capital improvement projects?
Many of the projects needed have been completed in recent years so we are in excellent shape. These projects included the Performing Arts Center renovation; the upper parking lot renovation; a new roof on the main building, renovation of Rex Champ Ballfield; a complete renovation of the kitchen; a new entryway; new flooring in several locations; a newly remodeled ADA restroom in the main building; remodeled Fitness Center; remodeled Youth Center; completely new heat pumps for both buildings; replacing a 100 year old steam heat system; monitored fire protections systems for both buildings; total renovation of the A.E. Doyle room; construction of four new pickleball courts; and a current project which will add ADA restrooms and a lobby for the Performing Arts Center. We also have $60,000 set aside in a dedicated roof fund.
Are there other funding possibilities?
The State of Oregon lost a lawsuit filed by several counties which receive timber tax revenue. It also lost an appeal, and we have been told there are discussions happening regarding a settlement. While a settlement is being negotiated, the state is accruing about $90,000 per day in interest charges, so it is in the state’s interest to settle sooner rather than later. If a 50% settlement were agreed to, for example, we would receive about $2.75million which could be used to retire debt or reduce the bond, or some combination of uses. In addition, as we will soon have over 50% of the necessary funds, it will make us eligible to apply for large foundation grants. These have been unavailable to us up until now because of the 50% requirement. We will also do one more round of fundraising this year which, in years past, has produced about $75,000 each year and has helped introduce the project to families who have expressed some interest in major gifts. Part of the reluctance to actually make the gift has been the fact that we still had so far to go on our fundraising. Now, we will have a majority of what we need and this may prove to be an incentive. One family has told us they will set up a special fund to assist us with operating costs for the new pool.
What happens if the bond measure does not pass?
We will get the new pool even if it takes us longer than we anticipate. In the meantime, all new pool funds are placed in the Capital Asset Reserve Fund and are restricted to the new pool.
When did planning begin?
The 20 year Master Plan, developed in 2001, stated as a goal:“new therapy pool…and ADA compliant entry to pool”. The 10 year update, completed in 2011, stated “Focus on the new pool/aquatics center” by 2015. Many, many discussions including public input occurred over the last 20 years.