City OKs buy-ups for Big Pool project

Meghan Flynn
Garden City manager Matt Allen addresses those gathered for a groundbreaking ceremony for the Grand Rapids at The Big Pool project on July 23 beside a rendering of what the project could look like.

Two buy-ups were approved for the Garden Rapids at The Big Pool project at the Garden City Commission meeting Tuesday.

The Commission approved a buy-up of 10 competition lanes from the eight lanes in the base bid for the project for $359,457 and the addition of 800 square feet to the zero depth entry pool, plus a larger play structure for $90,890.

Assistant city manager Jennifer Cunningham said expansion of the pool from eight lanes to 10 lanes brings the ability for swimmers to train and for the city to host short course swim events during the summer.

“While summer is generally seen as a long-course season, most Western Kansas Swim Club meets are held in 25-yard pools,” she said. “The Finney County (Convention and Visitor’s Bureau) has expressed an interest in the 50-meter pool having a regulation short course width to provide opportunities to create and host events for youth and adults outside of the usual WKSC summer meet schedule.”

The expansion to 10 lanes from eight lanes brings the pool from 21 yards across to a true 25=yard by 50-meter facility.

The additional 800 square feet to the zero depth entry pool was crucial to approve now if the city wanted to add an additional play structure now or in the future, Cunningham said, as the structure is much larger than the one that was in the original plan.

“The importance of deciding this now wouldn't be as crucial if the size of the zero depth entry was there, because you could just go with a larger play structure down the road if the funds were available,” she said. “If we don't increase the size of that zero depth entry pool, then putting a larger structure in there is going to become problematic down the road.”

In other business, the commission approved a 10-year agreement with PGB Fiber LLC to construct a fiber optic communications network to provide dedicated service to the city.

The commission previously approved on July 21 a franchise agreement with PGB.

Mike Muirhead, Garden City Public Utility director, said the network would connect the city administration center, the Law Enforcement Center and Fire Station 1 to PGB’s site of presence at Garden City Community College.

“This connection will allow an enhanced communication traffic on all existing and future fiber links to city facilities that would feed out of here,” he said. “Right now with IT being near, pretty much everything comes out of this building.”

It is expected to be operational by Dec. 31, and the upfront cost of the agreement is $231,263.92.

The project is eligible to seek reimbursement through the SPARK Funds distributed to and allocated by Finney County as they relate to improving communications capabilities.