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Moorhead's 64-year-old pool to undergo $400K in renovations

The Moorhead City Council on Monday, May 23, approved the renovations to tide the pool over over until a decision is made on a possible aquatics complex.

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Braden Ashworth helps his son Rowan jump Thursday, June 13, 2019 into the Moorhead Municipal Pool.
Meagan Deanne / The Forum
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MOORHEAD — Moorhead's 64-year-old outdoor swimming pool is headed for renovations until a more detailed plan for replacement is made.

It could also become part of a new aquatics and recreation complex the city is considering as a future project.

The Moorhead City Council on Monday, May 23, approved $410,000 in renovations, including a liner, mechanical equipment and bathhouse improvements to tide the pool over until a decision is made. Work is expected to start this fall.

In the meantime, the pool will open on June 2, with a grand opening on June 7, according to City Manager Dan Mahli, with free entry, food and prizes from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

The pool, with a capacity for 600 swimmers, averages 230 swimmers a day and about 400 swimming lessons each year.

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Parks and Recreation Director Holly Heitkamp and Public Works Director Steve Iverson said in a memo to the council that the life expectancy of a pool can range from 25 to 40 years based on climate and preventative maintenance. The pool in Romkey Park was built in 1958, making it almost 65 years old.

One of the biggest problems is a leaking pool tub that has gone beyond the point of being fixable with patching and painting.

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The Moorhead Municipal Pool is seen empty in May 2020. The pool will open this year on June 2.
Michael Vosburg / Forum Photo Editor

After a study, it was determined that a pool liner and PVC membrane could be placed in the existing tub, and the lowest quote came from My Aquatics Services of West Fargo at $157,114.

A check was also made on the stainless steel gutters to see if they were leaking or too thin and would have to be replaced for another estimated $250,000. A company called American Leak Protection did an independent study on May 17 and found there is significant leaking in the tub, but the gutters appeared to be in "good shape" with only one problem area that could be welded.

On top of that, mechanical renovations are needed to "buy some time," the two department heads said in the memo, but they emphasized the entire facility is "in dire need of replacement."

They said the renovations would allow time to develop a plan for a possible city aquatic and recreation facility.

The mechanical projects needed, adding to the cost, are replacing the chlorine tank storage, the circulating pump and filters for the wading pools, plus redoing sanitary sewer service to the facility.

Some improvements to the bathhouse are also planned, but renovations recommended by an architect would not be able to be done without a significant investment due to building codes, according to the memo.

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The city plans to purchase new deck furniture and equipment that could continue to be used in a new pool and to replace the diving board, which is the original to the pool.

In all, Heitkamp and Iverson said, a new pool would cost $6 million to $11 million, as it wouldn't have to be as large as the current pool if the size was based on use.

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