Project manager Matt Allen and project spokesman Garrett Bridgens in front of the Warren H. Daugherty Aquatic Center, which is being renovated. The project is part of the 2016 bond measure that was passed and is expected to be completed around September this year. Aliya Hall/The Creswell Chroncle
A bond measure passed three years ago is coming to fruition in the form of a renovated public pool and competitive aquatics center for Cottage Grove residents.
Renovations to the Warren H. Daugherty Aquatic Center, 1440 S. 8th Street, are about 75 percent complete, said Matt Allen, project manager.
The upgrades to the center are part of the 2016 bond measure that also included building a new elementary school, completing deferred maintenance projects, and adding more safety and security, which are completed.
Construction started last September on the pool, and Allen said the goal is for the work to be completed by mid-September of this year.
Project spokesperson Garrett Bridgens said the bond’s passage was driven by the need for a new elementary school and security upgrades, and because the community wanted something to be done with the pool. Project costs are coming in around $6.2 million.
”We have a very enthusiastic pool community here in Cottage Grove and South Lane County,” he said.
The aquatic center was built in 1955 and was a unique facility at that time. It had an untraditional pool length of 33 yards, which will be changed during the renovation project to a 25-yard, eight-lane, competition-style pool that is 60 feet wide is 12.5 feet deep. The center will also have a 1,000-square-foot warm-water recreational and therapy pool.
”That’s an exciting part of the project,” Bridgens said. ”We always tried to do that, but we weren’t sure if the funds would be there for it; but the community stepped up.”
He added that the new pool is going to continue to ”do wonders” that the old pool started.
The center already had kindergarten through eighth-grade swim lessons, but it will now be able to hold swim competitions and expand its programming.
The look of the center also is going to be different, with a focus on indirect lighting. The original building had floor-to-ceiling glass, but the construction team found indirect lighting to be a lot better because there was no surface glare, which is crucial in water sports like polo.
Allen explained that the lights shine upward and reflect off the ceiling, and they uncovered north-facing windows that would let in natural, indirect lighting as well.
Along with the new pools, changes were also made to the locker rooms. The original rooms were open, and didn’t have many stalls. Now there will be a dressing room with lockers.
”We’re pretty excited with what’s going in here,” Bridgens said.
The facility will also get its own family dressing room, which will offer more privacy. Other additions include a mix of UV with chlorine, as a way to improve indoor air quality and smell, as well as lower the amount of chlorine in the water. Outside, the center will also be utilizing solar power to offset energy costs.
Although the project is on track, Allen said that the whole project has been a challenge. The team found rot due to a lack of dehumidification – which will be fixed with these upgrades – and they hit bedrock while they were digging out the deep end of the pool. Allen said that issue added about two weeks of excavator and jackhammer work to the timeline.
As the project is nearing completion, Bridgens said there have been tours for the pool committee and people who donated to the facility, and he said that they were thrilled with the results.
”There were a lot of ‘wow’ and ‘I can’t believe we’re finally seeing this,’” he said.
While the pool itself might be located in the South Lane School District, Bridgens said that it doesn’t mean it’s only the school’s pool.
”That’s the thing to understand; it’s not South Lane’s pool or Cottage Grove’s pool – It’s Southern Lane County’s pool,” he said. ”We want to have everyone down in this area; we’re excited. We hope people down in Creswell will be excited to use our pool.”
The 2016 bond was not the first time the pool was nominated for a remodel. Bridgens said it’s something people have been talking about for a long time. In 2007, there were talks of remodeling the pool, but when the economy dipped the project was put on hold.
”I’m most excited that we’ll have this new facility that the community has been dreaming about and talking about for a really long time,” he said. ”Everyone that’s come in so far has just been so excited and I know the community is going to love it.”