Amid a row of arching arms and legs WaHi's Austin Garrett dives into the pool for the boys 100-yard freestyle swim Friday evening.
Matthew B. Zimmerman
WALLA WALLA — A plan to rebuild Memorial Pool has resurfaced, but this time without the slides, splash pad, lazy river and no $8.7 million price tag.
What the proposal does come with is a goal of raising $1.5 million in private funds for an Olympic-size pool that could be built by next summer.
“I am a bit ambitious, but I do believe we could have this open by next summer,” said Anne North-Jones, president of Rebuild Memorial, a group pushing for the project. “We can do it. We have had a wonderful response.”
Last year voters torpedoed an $8.7 million proposal to replace Memorial with many water-park amenities.
Rebuild Memorial recently began a public awareness campaign to spread its message that the pool can be rebuilt for several million less than previous proposals, just without the water park-type amenities.
“That number is the cost of the rebuild of the pool itself, just rebuilding the pool,” North-Jones said.
An official plan has yet to be released to the public, but North-Jones said the idea is to widen Memorial Pool from the current 20 yards to 25 yards, creating an Olympic-size pool.
The group also wants to increase the depth to 5 feet at one end to accommodate race-dive starts. The opposite end of the pool would remain at around 3-feet to accommodate young swimmers and lessons. A zero-depth wading area like the one at the Milton-Freewater pool would be included.
The $1.5 million would also cover the costs for new pump and water treatment systems.
Rebuild Memorial said it would reuse the existing filtration system, pump tank and underground lines, which North-Jones said are cost-saving measures that were overlooked in previous plans.
“Everybody was always under the assumption that they would have to dig it out because of having to replace all the original drains,” North-Jones said.
The group also plans to reuse the old bath house, with the goal of replacing it with a new bath house on the east side of the facility once funding is established. The current bath hose would then become a guard house, storage area and rental facility for parties or other groups.
Rebuild Memorial plans to use a municipal prefab pool builder and sited Myrtha Pools as a possible provider.
The company specializes in larger underground pools that are surrounded by a metal frames and lined with vinyl.
Several years ago an Olympic-size Myrtha pool was installed in Othello, Wash., for $2.6 million. That municipal facility also include a zero-depth entry pool with child spray toys, a modest sized lazy river and one large aquatic slide.
North-Jones said Rebuild Memorial would also add slides and other amenities, but only if the extra funds can be secured.
“Our goal is to raise three or four million so that we can add some bells and whistles and make a facility that will be great for all,” she added.
Rebuild Memorial has launched a website and is asking the public to take a survey at the site: memorialpool.org.
Alfred Diaz can be reached at email@example.com or 526-8325.