The Bitterroot Aquatic Center was established about 18 years ago when a $1.8 million bond and levy were passed for construction of the facility. In 2006, another levy was passed for $100,000 to cover the rising costs of operations. Now, according to the center’s manager Fern Schreckendgust, the center is ready, if not over-ready, for an upgrade and the time is ripe since the first bond is set to be paid off next year.
According to Schreckendgust, the number of people and organizations using the pool has steadily increased over the years to the point that it is difficult to accommodate all the activities. She said that the bond and levy being proposed will not only make needed repairs and upgrades, but also some basic improvements and additions that could put the center into prime condition to serve the community over the next 20 years.
The plan has been in the works for a number of years and includes some major improvements, such as covering the outdoor pool so that it could be used in winter. The walls are designed to be opened up during the warmer months of summer, allowing lots of fresh air and sunshine in. The bathroom/changing rooms will be doubled in size and some much-needed family changing rooms will be added. A new entrance is also planned so that people can enter the pool area to watch their children or grandchildren without having to pass through the bathroom/changing rooms.
Office space, which currently does not exist, will be added, providing a space for lifeguard classes and CPR training.
Schreckendgust said that the center was literally busting at the seams with activity. All the program time for pool use is always full, leaving people competing for time and space at the facility. She said the remodeled facility would provide opportunities for additional programming including kayaking, scuba diving, and deep water running.
Although used by people living all over the county, the center was established as a Park District basically covering the Hamilton and Corvallis School Districts. Voters are being asked to approve a $5,840,000 (11.84 mills) construction bond as well as a $350,000 (9.23 mills) operating levy.
If passed, the owner of home with an assessed value of $100,000 would see a tax bill of about $15.98 a year for the bond and $12.46 for the operational levy. The term of the bond is 20 years.