In May, the Town of Oro Valley hopes to begin construction on a $3.4 million pool expansion at James D. Kriegh Park.

The aging pool facilities will undergo renovation and expansion, including restrooms, changing rooms, a splash pad and a drop slide.

The project will also transform the complex, which was built in 1974, into a standard-regulation swimming facility, capable of hosting large-scale competitions.

Oro Valley Mayor Satish Hiremath said, “I am excited that we will soon be able to offer our residents and visitors a larger facility where they can bring their families for the day, and I am confident that Oro Valley will earn a reputation as a top-tier aquatics facility, drawing competitors from all over the region. The new aquatic center will be more than just an amenity; it will be a family gathering place for residents and a destination for visitors.”

The expansion was discussed during the Dec. 7 regular meeting, where the Oro Valley Town Council voted unanimously to move forward with the project.

During the discussions, the council was provided two funding options to pay for the project.

The council opted to go with a $2.5 million bond, which will require an annual payment of $235,000 for the next 15 years, which would come from the Bed Tax fund.

Funding sources also include $400,000 from Parks and Recreation fees, and $500,000 from the Bed Tax fund.

Council members appeared excited about the project, with several pointing out that this is a good time to move forward with construction projects because bids are coming in lower in tough economic times.

With council approval, Town Manager Greg Caton said they will put the project out to bid immediately, with plans to begin construction in May. If the project begins in May as planned, the completion date is expected sometime next fall.

Some of the expansion details include the installation of a six-lane, 25-yard lap pool, a 10-lane scoreboard and timing system, a shaded bleacher area, an interactive splash pad, and modifying the depth of the pool to enable race starts at both ends.

There is some concern about how local teams will practice while the expansion is under construction, but town officials said they would work with programs throughout the area to find alternative facilities.

When it comes to construction, Councilman Bill Garner said, “I don’t think anytime is a good time, but the faster we can break ground the better.”

Councilman Barry Gillaspie said the pool-expansion discussions began more than two years ago, and thanked his fellow council members for approving a project that would “benefit the kids.”

Right before the official vote, Councilman Joe Hornat asked Caton and other town officials to work at keeping fees to use the current, and new facilities as low as possible for residents, teams and programs.

Caton said fees will increase, but they are not sure how much at this point.

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