Proposed Tupelo aquatics center to get a vote

TUPELO – After having benched the municipal aquatics center contract for a month, City Council members on Tuesday signaled they’re ready to take the plunge.
The council agreed to pull the contract from the study agenda, where it has collected dust since Sept. 21, and place it on its next meeting’s action agenda where they can take a vote.
The next meeting is Nov. 2.
If they approve the deal, it allows JBHM Architects to launch phase one of an Olympics-sized indoor swimming facility to replace the city’s aging pool at Rob Leake City Park.
Phase one involves preliminary drawings, site selection and cost estimates. This portion of the contract will not exceed $100,000, said Joey Henderson, principal of JBHM Architects of Tupelo.
Phases two through four involve construction documents, soliciting bids for construction and construction itself. The whole process could take more than a year.
“The council understands the importance of addressing the aquatics needs for Tupelo’s future growth,” said city Parks and Recreation Director Don Lewis. “Life expectancy under the dome is less than two years, so we need to move forward with a decision of cost and location.”
Tupelo’s current and only public indoor swimming facility has an aging dome – or bubble – that will need replacing within two years. A new bubble will cost $800,000.
Instead, recreation and aquatics officials want to build an entirely new pool that they say will draw competitions and tourism dollars to Tupelo.
The city will pay for the architect with cash raised as part of a 2007 bond issue. But it likely will require a new 15-year bond issue to cover the entire pool project, which early estimates placed at about $7 million.
It would not require a tax increase.
Contact Emily Le Coz at (662) 678-1588 or emily.lecoz@djournal.com.

Emily Le Coz/NEMS Daily Journal