The story of Elgin’s new swimming pool

A new pool. In Elgin it means different things to different people. On Friday afternoon, a good number of residents from town and the outlying area, attended an hour-long grand opening celebration.
The water inside the zero-entry pool was like glass as persons young and old came through the gate of the pool house. Once inside, they were treated to ice cream and brownies served by pool committee members.
For nearly 30 minutes they looked at the new, modern pool house and the pool itself, having been open for just three weeks. Attendance at the pool has been higher than anticipated, partly because of it being a new pool, and partly because temperatures have been above 90 degrees most days.
Mayor Mike Schmitt served as emcee for a brief program which recounted how, in less than a year the old, out-of-date pool had been replaced with a new state-of-the-art facility.
He said the Elgin City Council was approached in April 2013 asking the City to start setting aside funds for a new pool. Just over a year later a pool committee was formed to begin the process.
Important dates along the way were:
• September 2014 when Burbach Aquatics completed a pool study submitted to the mayor and council
• January 2015 the council approves a feasibility study, formation of conceptual drawings and a public opinion poll
• August 2015 the pool committee recommends to City Hall that they renovate the existing main pool vessel and add a new zero depth entry. The council approves the recommendation with a price tag of just over $1.5 million
At that time the pool committee reports that a contribution had been made by the family of Gerhard and Amelita Tunink which would cover one-third of the project. Municipal bonds would cover one-third and the final third would be raised through a capital campaign.
• September 2015 the council passes a resolution calling for a November bond election.
• November 2015 is arguably the most important time in the development of the new pool. Schmitt said on November 10, Elgin residents passed the bond election with 97 percent of the voters voting in favor, just three percent against. The council then passes an ordinance authorizing the issuance of swimming pool bonds by July 5, 2016 for 15 years with an interest rate of 2.11.
• July 2016 the original plans to renovate the pool are changed when Andy Pennekamp, an architect for Burbach Aquatics discovers that the concrete retaining wall design would not hold up to the chlorine in the water and would last just five to seven years. At that time the council decides to construct a new pool at a cost of $1.8 million.
• September 2016 the council approves proceeding with the new pool construction with Christiansen Construction being named the pool/general contraction while Mechanical Incorporated is chosen for the pool mechanical construction. At the same time the City opts to construct the bath house, bringing the cost of the pool down to $1.6 million.
Demolition of the old pool begins and June 2017 is targeted as the completion date. The 10-month schedule depends in large part on good weather and working year-round to make it happen.
“On behalf of the Elgin City Council we would like to thank everyone who has donated to the pool,” Mayor Schmitt said. “There are a few items that have not been purchased due to lack of funds, so donations are still being taken for such things as shade structures, toddler slide and paving.”
Schmitt then thanked Project Manager Jeff Eastman for his help and guidance. He thanked all the volunteers who painted, power washed or helped in anyway, and singled out Michael Moser for the extra work he provided.
Schmitt closed by thanking the pool committee which consisted of Deb and Kyle Warren, Duane, Vicki and Bethany Miller, Todd Heithoff, Sue Vanis and Moser for the many hours they put in over the past three years to make this day possible.
Moments later, children were splashing in the pool and another day in the life of a new pool began.