Town and County set path to expedite pool project

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ATHABASCA, AB – Town and County Council members have reached consensus on the next steps for the new pool facility planned for Athabasca.

The two councils met at the Athabasca Regional Multiplex on the evening of July 30, 2015, to discuss how to move forward given recent changes to the scope of the school project. It was determined a path had to be chosen in order to keep momentum going with the pool facility.

Two major decisions were made at the meeting:

  • to build a conventional building as opposed to an alternative building model,
  • to continue with the engagement of Group 2 as the bridging architect for the project, covering design work, public consultation and costing.

The two decisions coincide with each other and mean that once an agreement is made with Group 2, they can move forward with the project and seek sub-contractors to conduct the design work, public consultation and costing. In addition, the design-bid-build concept will allow the two councils, pool committee and project partners, to have greater input into the design as it moves forward.

“The path has become clear – it is time to move forward and get this pool project done,” stated Roger Morrill, Mayor of Athabasca. “It’s now up to council members, residents, and our community partners to help create this legacy project for our town and our region.”

Each municipal council has committed $5 million towards the project to date.  A visioning session was conducted with Group 2 in early 2015 that shared a ‘wish list’ for the facility. Both councils are waiting to see what can be accomplished at various funding levels.

“The wish list is certainly more than the money committed so far will accomplish,” explains Doris Splane, Reeve of Athabasca County. “However, I know with the contributions of community and corporate partners many of the wish list items will be made possible and the facility will be something for everyone to be proud of for many years to come.”

Community partners have already pledged support for the project and are planning fundraising efforts to support the new pool facility.

Background Info – Athabasca Pool Project timeline

June 2011 – Athabasca Regional Multiplex Society (ARMS) begins to investigate the potential replacement of the pool.

July/August 2012 – Town/County discuss a swimming pool as a priority. Presentations are received with a number of pool concepts.

November 2012 – Aspen View discusses the potential for a new school/pool attached to the multiplex.

December 2012 – Town of Athabasca Council commits $5 million towards a new swimming  pool.

January, 2013 – Government of Alberta (GOA) reviews Multiplex facility as potential location for new school.

February 2013 – GOA conducts “Value Scoping” session on new school. Result recommends Multiplex as best location.

February 2013 – preliminary discussions with Aspen View about the potential for a joint project at the Multiplex begin.

May 2013 – Aspen View presents to ARMS at a regular meeting that they would like to work together on a joint project.

June 2013 – a report is presented to the Swimming Pool Committee providing options for moving forward on a swimming pool project. Committee chose to advise councils that an RFP for an Owner’s Representative to oversee the project should be published.

September 2013 – approval from both councils and ARMS is received to proceed with an RFP. It is published on Sept. 4 with an Oct. 28, 2013 deadline.

November to December, 2013 – a total of eight submission to the RFP are received. Submissions are reviewed and scored by committee. All proponents are interviewed in mid-December 2013.

December 2013 – personal interviews are conducted with the top two proponents.

January 21, 2014 – Successful RFP proponent selected, agrees to take on pool project. An agreement is drafted for signing.

January 24, 2014 – new school is announced, to be attached to the Multiplex facility. Minister gives partners (Aspen View, Town, County, ARMS, Athabasca University) 30 days to draft a Memorandum of Understanding for the project.

February-April, 2014 – Lengthy discussions among the partners began about the MOU and what the scope of the project may look like:

  • Pool Project Management contract was put on hold until after the scope of the project could be determined and a MOU signed;
  • The parties agree that economies of scale could be achieved and construction logistics streamlined if it were a joint project. All negotiations from that point focus on this end goal.

June 11, 2014 – A five page MOU is signed by all parties.

September 2014 – Town of Athabasca funding commitment is confirmed with referendum.

October 2014 – Phase 1 environmental study is completed.

December 2014 – Government of Alberta approves local project management.

December 2014 – Athabasca County reallocates $5 million to a “Recreation” Capital reserve account for the new swimming pool.

December 2014 – RFP submissions for Bridging Architect and Project Manager are jointly reviewed and scored.

January 2015 – Interviews are conducted and Group 2 is awarded the Bridging Architect contract for the project. All parties approve the decision. Group 2 meets with stakeholders on a number of occasions for visioning sessions and begins work on initial concept drawings.

May 2015 – Group 2 recommends a standalone school structure due to a number of factors.

June 2015 – Town/County meet to review options for the pool given the school is likely to be a standalone structure and the project is no longer required to be joint.

July 2015 – A joint Council meeting is held to determine next steps for the pool project.