Is a New Pool Facility in the Future for Bedford?

Potential 3-pool plan for Springs Brook Park - Image (c) Beals and Thompson, 2016 all rights reserved
Potential 3-pool plan for Springs Brook Park – Image (c) Beals and Thompson, 2016 all rights reserved – Click the image to see it at full size

By Debra Parkhurst

Possible 2-pool plan for SBP
Potential 2-pool plan for Springs Brook Park – Image (c) Beals and Thompson, 2016 all rights reserved – Click the image to see it at full size

The Recreation Commission presented a Pool Feasibility Study to the Selectmen at the Board’s April 11 meeting.  The study included three concept layouts at two possible locations: the existing Springs Brook Park area, or a potential new facility on town-owned land near the Bedford High School and John Glenn Middle School.

Possible Spray Park plan for SBP
Potential Spray Park plan for Springs Brook Park – Image (c) Beals and Thompson, 2016 all rights reserved – Click the image to see it at full size

The three concept layouts for an outdoor facility were detailed by Recreation Director Amy Hamilton and Eric Las of the engineering firm of Beals and Thomas, which was engaged to advise the Commission.   Each layout included a spray park, two pavilions, an office/storage building, a concession building, courts and playground.

Beyond these common elements, a three pool alternative would include a dive pool, a lap pool, and a “zero-depth entry” pool at a total estimated cost of $10 to $16 million.  A two pool alternative would eliminate the dive pool, lowering costs to an estimated total of $9 to $14 million.  A third alternative would be a new spray park only, at a total estimated cost of $4 to $6 million.  It was explained that existing conditions at Springs Brook – including wetlands, groundwater and bedrock – will determine particular configurations for a pool facility at the existing location.  While the site is difficult, the consultant believes it is possible that the various options could work at the Park location, but more testing is necessary.

In this review an indoor facility that could accommodate activities throughout the year was also considered.   Such a facility would likely be sited on the town campus near the schools.  Using Concord’s recently constructed Beede Center as a model, the cost for construction of a similar center in Bedford is estimated at $14 million depending upon the configuration of such a facility.  The 30,000 sq. ft.  Beede Center, completed in 2006, incorporates a dive well, lap pool, kiddie pool, therapy pool, and two fitness rooms.  Total cost including site work, parking, and landscaping was $11 million.

Several Selectmen agreed it could be a good idea to have a pool facility in the center of town, and it might make sense to have it function year round.  For Selectman Margot Fleischman, this raised a separate set of questions, including whether or not Bedford continues to desire an outdoor “summer only” swimming facility versus the separate idea of an indoor pool/fitness facility.  Selectman Caroline Fedele acknowledged that the concept of changing the location is very recent.   Chairman Michael Rosenberg said such an idea adds a big variable to the discussion, including whether or not residents would be willing to provide on-going support for an indoor center.

The Recreation Department will conduct a town wide survey as their next step.  The Selectmen expressed interest in seeing the questions that would be posed in such a survey.


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