GREENBELT – The Greenbelt City Council is ready to dive into maintenance on the city’s indoor pool, despite proposals coming in at nearly $10,000 more than anticipated.
On Monday, the council looked at three proposals to replace the pool plaster known as the white coat. Those three proposals were the result of a bid solicitation sent out in May and, although the agenda item’s focus was on the pool’s plaster, the council members largely spoke to other changes they wanted to see made to the aquatic center.
The city set aside $47,400 in the fiscal year 2018 Building Capital Reserve Fund to replace the white coat of the indoor pool. The pool was built in the 1990s and the plaster generally lasts eight to 10 years with the last replacement of the white coat occurring in 2009.
Mayor Emmett Jordan questioned why the replacement was needed already considering the coat should last 10 years. However, Joe McNeal, Greenbelt’s assistant director of recreation operations, said the indoor pool is used year-round by residents.
“That can affect the lifespan of the white coat, versus the outdoor pool,” he said.
With the need for the update established, the council looked at the three different options before it. The three bids included Primavera Pool Services, Llc with a bid of $63,900, Kins. Inc., doing business as Aquatic Specialists, at a $56,880 bid, and Wilcoxon Construction, Llc with a $55,460 bid.
McNeal’s memo to the council briefly discussed the bids, and said while every bidder received positive reviews from their references, the feedback noted white coat work was part of a larger project and was sub-contracted.
“In some cases, the references provided noted the white coat work was a component of a larger project they had done and that the white coat portion of the project was subcontracted out to Wilcoxon Construction Inc.,” he wrote.
In addition, McNeal also revealed that Wilcoxon had worked on the Greenbelt pools “just about every time that I am aware of,” and that the city has been “very satisfied” with their work.
The council voted unanimously to award the contract to Wilcoxon.
Still, the bid placed by the company for the pool project came in well above the budgeted $47,400. That was not a large surprise for city staff, though, as City Manager Nicole Ard said city staff slightly changed the scope of the project to include tile work as well.
“That was a part of being very fair to everyone and letting them know that based on feedback that there is additional work that needs to be done and lets the council know we are making a modification,” she said.
McNeal elaborated, saying that each time plaster is added it increases the thickness of the pool shell. The white coat has been replaced four times since the pool opened, but the tile that marks the lanes has remained the same, leaving an inch gap between the plaster and the tile.
“We’re looking to have that tile removed and built up so it will be flush and level with the new white coat,” he said.
To offset the cost, a council memo said the aquatic center expects to see revenues $25,000 higher than projected and the city believes the additional funds will be “sufficient to cover the increased costs.” And, in fact, the council introduced an ordinance to allocate the additional $10,000 to the pool plaster project, suspended the rules and unanimously passed the motion.
Still, several of the councilmembers see more that needs to be done at the aquatic center.
Rodney Roberts said he has received “repeated complaints” about the heat in the women’s locker room, while Silke Pope inquired into updates on railings in and near the locker rooms and if it would be possible to install some non-slick tiles or rubber mats to decrease the slippery surfaces.
“I think it's a safety (issue),” she said. “And I’m open to all suggestions. I just want to keep it in our minds and not forgotten.”
Jordan also pointed out rusting vents in the center and McNeal said the ventilation system in general is in need of repair.
City staff plan to have the white coat replaced in August during the yearly cleaning from Aug. 20 to Aug. 31.