« Continue Browsing

e-mail article Print     e-mail article E-mail

Helmut Schmidt, Published August 14 2013

Study puts cost of West Fargo aquatics center at between $21.2 million and $30.3 million

WEST FARGO – A feasibility study for a proposed West Fargo community and aquatics center pegs the cost at $21.2 million for a basic facility and as high as $30.3 million for a venue that would rank among the best in the Upper Midwest, second only to the University of Minnesota.

The study, done by Isaac Sports Marketing Group of Ann Arbor, Mich., and Water Technology Inc. of Beaver Dam, Wis., was made public Wednesday.

The study was commissioned by the city, the West Fargo Park District and the West Fargo School District.

It estimates the facility could generate $1.6 million to $2.8 million in direct spending per year in West Fargo and Fargo.

The site being considered is a 10-acre parcel owned by the Park District just east of Freedom Elementary.

Construction cost estimates for the base option facility range from $21,245,000 to $23,349,000. Cost estimates for what is called the upgrade option range from $27,507,000 to $30,293,000.

The community and aquatics center is being sought to fill a number of needs. One of the top needs is need for a competition pool for the city’s two high schools and other community swim teams. Training and competition facilities are needed for diving and to grow swim programs. A place for water fitness, rehabilitation and therapy, and water safety training is also needed.

On the dry side, it would offer gym space for basketball, volleyball and other sports; and flexible spaces for meetings, education and fitness programs, and other events.

City, Park District and schools officials will meet at 5 p.m. Tuesday at the Public Works office to discuss the report.

“I think that certainly we got what we asked for in terms of a comprehensive, thorough report on the feasibility and costs, and the backup documentation on revenues and participants,” Superintendent of Schools David Flowers said.

Flowers said it’s up to the boards to decide what they can each bring to the table in terms of funding, and what they will have to ask voters to approve.

“Certainly for the School District … with three high schools, we’ll need more water; we’ll need more ice, too,” he said.

The base option would be a two-story, 81,200-square-foot facility. It would include a competition and training pool that could support programming for two high schools, and perhaps a third in the future.

It would support mid- to large-size meets and be comparable to other aquatic centers in North Dakota. The base option also includes a recreation and leisure pool.

It would have 12,000 square feet of pool deck space, 13,750 square feet for a two-court gym, 9,250 square feet for an auxiliary gym, 6,380 square feet for locker rooms, 3,000 square feet of meeting and classroom space, 4,000 square feet for Park District offices and 500 square feet for a kitchen.

It would have seating for 600 spectators and room for 400 athletes on the pool deck.

The upgrade option increases seating for the competitive pool area to 1,200 spectators. It includes 112,300 square feet of space on two levels.

The major spaces include 16,400 square feet of total pool deck, 13,750 square feet for a gym with two courts, 9,250 square feet for an auxiliary gym, 7,880 square feet for aquatic locker room space, 1,500 square feet of gym locker room space, 4,900 square feet of meeting and classroom space, 4,000 square feet for Park District offices and 700 square feet for a kitchen.

It would have room for 600 to 700 athletes on the pool deck.

The upgraded facility could handle large events such as high school state championships, large USA Swimming events, collegiate events, and regional or zone diving events.

In the second year running the base facility, expenses are estimated at $1,626,713, with income pegged at $2,045,580, leaving net revenue of $418,867.

In the second year of the upgrade facility, expenses are estimated at $1,716,647 and revenues at $2,196,236, producing net revenue of $479,589.

Those estimates rely on $200,000 per year in subsidies from the park and school districts for the first five years.

Choosing either option will mean figuring out if there is voter support for the facility, and weighing the need for the facility against other citywide needs, such as water treatment facilities, new schools or indoor ice for youth hockey, the study’s authors state.

Readers can reach Forum reporter

Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583