Sunday, Apr 21st

Indoor Pool Advocates Present Plans to Village Trustees

scc1.jpgAdvocates for an indoor pool and community center in Scarsdale presented an extensive study including financial projections, a concept design and cost evaluation to a meeting of the Scarsdale Board of Trustees on November 4th. Ed Morgan, a Co-Chair of the SCC, Steve Bush, the organization’s controller, architect Bart Hamlin and an architect from ikon.5 all participated in the report to the Board.

The 150-page document that was distributed outlines plans for a new facility at the site of the outdoor pool on Mamaroneck Road. The new Community Center would include an 8-lane pool, a therapy pool and locker rooms to be built underground, with an above ground extension of the existing bathhouse to accommodate a fitness center as well as community meeting rooms.

The group retained ikon.5 Architects to plan the center as they recently completed a Wellness Center at the College of New Rochelle that is largely below ground and required extensive rock excavation. The current plans for Scarsdale call for removal of 12,000 cubic yards of rock, upgrading utilities and reallocating parking. The 34,000 square foot project would require the relocation of the existing mechanical equipment for the outdoor pool. It is estimated that it would cost $24-$25 million, with approximately $20mm in construction costs and $4.8mm in soft costs. The group hopes to begin construction in January 2012 and believes it would take 20 months to build the project.

The current plan was developed after the SCC considered nine possible sites for the facility. When the site at Harwood Court was rejected due to resident’s concerns, the outdoor pool area was selected due to synergies between facilities.

Discussing the financial viability of the project, Steve Bush explained that the group originally had 1,200 paid members and now, four years later, 1,080 remain active. Sixty of those members donated additional monies to fund the architecture and engineering study, demonstrating that there continues to be a real commitment to the project. His projections call for 1,600 members by opening day with a full family membership at $1,318 per year. The plan ultimately targets a membership of 2,000. The group came up with membership numbers by studying demographics, the population and analyzing membership rates at the outdoor pool and at other similar facilities in the Northeast.

Three quarters of the revenue to support the facility are expected to come from membership fees, with the balance derived from increased summer camp fees, aquatic and fitness program fees, funds from the use of the community meeting rooms, vending machines, merchandise sales, child care and guest fees. In order to finance the project, the group plans to raise $8mm in private contributions. Once they reach this target, the Village would bond the remaining $16 million dollars.

The Trustees questioned the presenters about the validity of the membership scc2.jpgprojections and the financial projections. Trustee Eisenman asked what would happen to the outdoor pool during the construction of the facility. Hamlin explained that they planned to do the rock excavation during the fall and winter and pour the concrete before the pool opened in May. Though parking would have to be relocated the architects claimed they could minimize disruption to the pool during the summer months. There was also a discussion of why the project was expanded from an indoor pool project to a community center and Hamlin explained that the pool alone would not be financially self-sustaining and that together, a Community Center and indoor pool would heighten community interaction in a vibrant environment.

In order to move forward, the SCC is asking the Trustees for a commitment to issue the $16 million dollar bond, once the group raises the required $8 million in contributions. The Trustees thanked the group for their thorough job and opened the floor for comments from the audience.

There were very few people in attendance, making it difficult to gage community support for the project. Mrs. Landau called the outdoor pool site “sacred” and voiced her concerns about use of the outdoor pool during construction. She said “20 months for the project sounds hopeful.” Mr. Landau questioned the financial plan assumptions derived from the experts, saying, “what if things don’t work out?” Mrs. Mackler asked the Trustees to do due diligence to determine if the 1,080 members were still on board and discussed the “financial realities” we now face. Trustee Toder objected answering that if the list was given to the Board it would become a public document.

The Mayor complimented the group on an extremely thorough job and invited comments from the community. The meeting was televised and the plans will be available on the SCC website and at Village Hall.

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