BY SCOTT SUTTON
Miami University journalism student
The city of Oxford still hopes to open a new $4.6 million aquatic center in two years -- but has yet to finalize plans or hire key contractors for the project.
"I'm committed to building the new pool," City Manager Doug Elliott told a journalism class on Wednesday. "The existing pool is 45 years old and is in bad condition."
But the city will need to issue debt to pay for the project, Elliott said, at the same time it is looking at issuing debt for a road project in the south part of Oxford.
Residents of Oxford will also pay a fee to use the new aquatic center -- as they do now, with either season passes or per-visit fees. Those dollars will cover operating costs, Elliott said, but not the cost of construction.
The city is also considering a fundraising effort, aiming to raise $250,000 to $500,000 to over the costs of pool supplies.
2019 opening planned
The new aquatic center will be located at the Oxford community park, 6801 Fairfield Road. The city's existing pool is located a mile away at 6025 Fairfield Road.
The project is slated to start next year, with a 2019 opening.
Oxford City Council earlier endorsed a facility with a pool house, filter building, main pool, competition pool, spray ground and lazy river. The Oxford Swimming and Diving Team would have full access to the competition pool.Oxford's Swimming and Diving Team would be a big user of a new aquatic center. -- Photos contributed by Oxford Parks & Recreation Department
OSDT is a competitive swimming and diving team for Oxford swimmers, aged 5 to 18. Sandy Payne, treasurer and webmaster for the team, described her ideal aquatic center.
"The ideal new pool would be a six-lane, 25-meter pool, that is six feet deep at both ends to allow relays to start at either end," she said.
Plans date to 2006
The city has a couple concept plans for the aquatic center but no detailed construction documents, no architect and no construction contractor. It will also need an aquatic director to run the facility once it opens.
Elliott said the city will start to make those decisions soon, but is presently wrapped up with plans to relocate city administrative offices, now located at the corner of High and Main streets, in February. The city is spending $2.9 million to renovate the old Lane Library at 151 S. College Ave. into the new Oxford City Hall.
The idea for a new aquatic center began in 2006. The project was supposed to commence around that time but the recession delayed plans, according to Oxford Recreation Director Casey Wooddell.
"The city is in a lot better position now but there is still a long way to go," said Wooddell. "It'll be a very large facility."
The town of Eaton, located about 20 miles northeast of Oxford, opened a new aquatic center last year. The project took a year but it was a much smaller project, according to Elliott, an Eaton native. "We were very impressed with their contractor," he said.
An anonymous donor covered the cost of Eaton's new Main Street Aquatic Center.
Top photo: City plans call for the Oxford Municipal Town Pool to be relocated by 2019. -- Photo contributed by Oxford Parks & Recreation Department
Source : https://patch.com/ohio/miamiuniversity-oxford/oxford-preparing-new-aquatic-center-2019