City Commission Set to Vote on Redesign Funding for Ebster Pool

The Decatur City Commission is set to vote tomorrow night on putting $98,500 towards “surveying, design and construction administration services for the Ebster Pool and Bathhouse improvements building”, according to a letter from Deputy City Manager Hugh Saxon.  See tonight’s agenda for more info.

The agreement is with Lyman Davidson Dooley, the firm which also designed the pool and bathhouse at McKoy Park and “provided excellent service”.

Mr. Saxon goes on…

Ebster pool and bathhouse were built in 1982. Except for miscellaneous repairs, the facility is much as it was when first built. The bath house is outdated and in need of renovation. The pool mechanical system needs replacement. We also want to investigate options for pool improvements that will provide a more modern venue for the Active Living Department’s swimming program and a more pleasant recreational experience for other swimmers.

We anticipate a construction budget of $ 1 million for the proposed work. Construction would commence after the pool closes in August, 2013, and should be completed for the 2014 season.

22 thoughts on “City Commission Set to Vote on Redesign Funding for Ebster Pool”

  1. “a more pleasant recreational experience for other swimmers.”

    Doesn’t sound good for the pool’s feeding-frenzy inducing diving board!

  2. Kudos to the city for taking this on. The pool is a great asset and it needs to be totally updated.

  3. Please provide shade! Inadequate shade is a major limitation for all the public pools in Decatur. Given the risk of skin cancer, the misery of sun-fried parents watching their children in the pool, and the importance of ambience for public recreational facilities, shade should be a mandatory feature at our pools, just like safe deck surfaces, clean changing areas, lifeguards, etc. My only disappointment in the Glenlake pool renovation was the lack of shade provided.

  4. Stick with the basic rectangle and diving board! We’ve already got one committee-designed pool in Decatur and that’s plenty.

    1. I agree. Maybe if the design stayed as is we could instead of spend some of the $1 million to keep the pool open later than 5 p.m. in the summer. Some of us may actually like to enjoy the pool after a hard day of work (work, by the way, that helps pay taxes for said pool improvements).

      1. Agree with wanting pools to stay open later than 5 PM for working folks. Agree don’t need fancy new designs. Re shade: Thinking of cheap, not expensive solution, e.g. awning, umbrella stands.

        1. “The importance of ambiance in public recreation facilities” is highly debatable IMO. What’s important is making each facility as useful and valuable as possible for as many different people as possible. We’ve seen how NOT to do that, so I really hope the Ebster project turns out differently. Make the pool as big as possible, with a variety of depths and a diving board and 1-2 designated lap lanes most of the time. Awnings and umbrellas have to be maintained, repaired, replaced. Provide buckets of sand and let people bring their own umbrellas. (It would be easier than easy to collect a dozen kitty litter buckets with lids, paint them, fill with sand and cut holes in the tops. Concentrate on making the pool available as many days and as many hours as possible.

          1. If there’s a practical and safe way to bring one’s own umbrellas and install them, that would be fine. There’s some kind of trellis at Glenlake Pool that is useless for shade or drizzle protection. I’d rather useful shade be built than more decorative trellises. In this day and age of recognition of the necessity for sun protection, shade is a basic, not a frill. Think cataracts, skin cancer, sunburn, all of which are only partially mitigated by sunscreen and sunglasses. Plus some shade would make the pools more usable for all including elderly or others who cannot sit in direct sunlight for long. A very basic small covered area like one sees over picnic tables in parks is all I’m thinking. Nothing fancy. And not at the cost of shorter hours. But I doubt that the cost of a truly simple covered area and its maintenance has much impact on the costs of keeping facilities open later. The on-going personnel costs are probably the limiting factor.

  5. I’m not sure if it jump-started this action, but some may recall that a resident stood up at a commission meeting recently and talked about Ebster Pool’s poor condition and how the swim team was embarrassed to practice there when the ASC pool wasn’t available.

    Seems like it’s possible they could be related, though with all the other pools recently renovated and very crowded, it was just a matter of time before Ebster got some love.

  6. It’s actually crazy to me that we have 3 pools in our fair burg, but the Decatur Gators swim team, run by the Decatur Rec, swims at Agnes Scott – inside – during – the summer. Ebster just couldn’t accommodate the team. I would hope that this action will allow future Decatur Gator swim teams to make Ebster their home again.

    1. I see your point but, remember, if the Swim Team is using the pool, it will decrease the availability for lap and recreational swimmers. There are famous Swim Team vs. Lap Swimming wars at Venetian Pools. Reps from both factions belong to our household and I can assure you that both sides are right.

    2. The Agnes Scott pool is Olympic size and was built for competition. The swim team can take over 3/4 of it most of the time. I think people would get pretty annoyed if the public pools were taken over by the swim team.

      1. That depends on what it costs for the swim team to use the pool at ASC. I had no idea that with three municipal pools, the Gators still have to train elsewhere. Definitely seems possible we could deploy our resources better.

        1. I don’t know anything about the Gators’ situation, but over in Avondale we have only one pool, and the swim team seems to make use of it with no real intrusion on recreational use by other members. Each team hosts just a few meets per year (3 or 4, I think), and for the most part they practice during the day while the kids are on summer vacation.

          1. Part of the issue is the time of day of Swim Team practices which usually involve two or three age groups–e.g. 6 and under, 10 and under, and preteens/teens, and require several lanes. Daytime swim team practices impact lap swimmers the least because most of them are at work. But daytime practices leave out the kids who have working parents without flexible schedules because practices conflict with the usual day camps that working parents use for child care during the summer. Late afternoon and evening swim team practices allow a wider range of kids to participate, but they occur at the same time that lap swimmers are getting off work and want to use the pool.

            1. I should have added that the Dec Rec Swim Team traditionally has had late afternoon/evening practices so that most kids have the opportunity to join, regardless of their parents’ work schedules.

            2. Well you can’t make all the people happy, all of the time. But the Gators swim in a league against other “clubs” with just one pool. At those “clubs” the members pay lots of money to gain access to that one pool. I’m sure some feathers are ruffled some of the time, but ultimately everyone comes out ok. Again – with 3 pools within 4 square miles, you’d think the Gators wouldn’t need to borrow (or rent, whatever the case may be) the ASC pool to train in the middle of summer.

              1. Some of the clubs choose daytime practices, leaving out a lot of kids who need to attend day camps. Some choose late afternoon/evening practices. Some choose both. I don’t think Decatur Rec has the staff resources or pool space to do both. So it’s a hard call. I can see why they go to ASC. ASC may do it for free–they are very neighborhood minded about their sports/pool facilities. You can take various kinds of swim lessons there without being a member of the ASC community or paying a special pool fee; you just pay for the cost of the lesson.

              2. From our years on the Gators it’s my understanding that the only reason the Gators use the ASC pool for meets (they never practice there) is because Ebster doesn’t have lights. The meets go late into the evening and it gets too dark to see the swimmers. So I think using the ASC pool for the 3-4 Tuesday night meets is purely a safety thing. Someone correct me if I’m wrong!

  7. A $95,000 design fee on a $1,000,000 bathhouse renovation – someone saw the city coming and has decided to cash in. That fee for services is double what it should be.

    Paying double for design does not get you double the value in the results…

    I hope the construction budget is better allocated.

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