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September 25, 2013

Hamilton looks at options to replace pool

HAMILTON — A consultant looking into options for the Patton Park pool is recommending the town build a new one.

“It is time to start over,” Timothy Sheehan, senior project manager for Aquatics Group in Peabody, told selectmen Monday night. “It would be less expensive to build a new pool in that location than it would be to retrofit it.”

The current pool is more than 50 years old and has a variety of problems, including leaks, outdated equipment, lack of space and code issues, he said. The group was hired to look at preliminary designs and costs for refurbishing the current pool or replacing it.

Most pools last only 25 to 30 years, Sheehan said.

“You’ve done a great job stretching it out, but it’s time to look at a new one,” he said. “You are at the point where you’re throwing good money at bad.”

Sheehan presented three options, costing between $2 million and $3 million, to replace the pool, based on information previously gathered by a committee formed by selectmen.

“The vision is to upgrade the facility and start to draw families into this space,” Sheehan said.

The most basic option would be a six-lane lap pool with a separate kiddie pool. The most elaborate would be L-shaped, with a lap pool at one end and a zero-entry pool at the other, meaning it would slope gradually, without stairs, making it appropriate for children and the disabled. It would also have a separate kiddie pool and a splash pad with play structures for children.

All options include replacing the bathhouse and decking, increasing seating areas and improving the parking lot. The higher estimate also includes a concession stand.

“Having a zero-entry pool really opens it up for a variety of age groups,” Sheehan said, estimating that such an upgrade could triple the number of uses, based on similar projects elsewhere.

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