Redmond Mayor John Marchione, Sen. Manka Dhingra of the 45th Legislative District, City Council members and community members gathered at the Redmond Pool on June 21 for the Phase 1 Pool Improvement Project kickoff.
The pool systems at the Redmond Pool have outlived their life and after 47 years, pool improvements are necessary and critical for the future use of the pool as a community space.
Phase one improvements — which started on June 24 — will include new mechanical systems, new air handling units, new boiler systems, improved circulation and new electrical, roof, and windows. The pool will be closed until early fall.
In 2016-17, Marchione said the city preformed extensive community outreach and aquatics was identified as a top community priority. The city later conducted an energy audit and a consultant recommended improving the existing pool as the most cost-effective approach to maintain aquatics within the community. Council adopted the 2019-20 budget in December, approving $8 million to improve essential and high-priority systems. Dhingra also championed $1 million in funding from the state for the project. The improvements will better the air and water quality, energy efficiencies, operational savings and help preserve the pool for another 25-30 years.
“People really love their pools and want their pools,” Marchione said. “We were trying to work regionally to get something bigger and we were holding this together as best we could. We got to the point where we decided we needed to make this investment. Pools are a great community place because we gather, we swim, participate in sports. We learn health issues and we are able to protect ourselves and our children by just knowing the basics of swimming.”
The Redmond Pool is the only public pool in the city and serves more than 90,000 visitors per year. The pool offers lessons, classes and open swim sessions to the community. The pool was built by King County using Forward Thrust bond funding in 1972 and was transferred to the city of Redmond in 2010. Between 2010 and 2017, regular mechanical system failures occurred but replacement parts were difficult to find due to the age of the pool. Once the city learned that aquatics was a top priority for the community, it conducted an energy audit of the pool.
“We’re excited to get this project started,” Marchione said. “It’s going to bring better water quality and a more efficient use of energy. Energy efficiency alone is worth doing this project.”
Dhingra said she is glad the state was able to pitch in and help because it helps the entire region.
“Water is such a integral part of our lives in this region,” she said. “It’s important for our children to have a place to learn how to swim and learn about water safety. Both my kids learned how to swim here. We know water safety is so important.”
Phase two will begin in 2020 to improve ADA access, locker room and lobby enhancements, new pool decking and plumbing upgrades.
The city is also doing a feasibility study with King County, Kirkland and Bellevue, according to parks director Rachel Van Winkle.
“[We’re] evaluating whether a regional model would be cost effective. We’re evaluating sites, and whether a regional partnership would work,” she said. “But regardless of whether we do a regional pool or not, there’s still so much demand for swim lessons and water that this pool would complement that regional model. We get 95,000 visits a year and in the condition that it’s in, we’re still getting that type of usage out of it. That tells us that there’s a lot of demand out there.”
The city will have a report by the end of this year.
To learn more about the Redmond Pool improvements visit, www.redmond.gov/Pool.