In Calvert, Cost to Build Indoor Pool Soars Higher

By William Wan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 26, 2006

Plans to build the first indoor swimming pool in Calvert County were derailed this week after the county commissioners received a cost estimate that was more than double the $10.75 million they had budgeted.

The news was received with frustration among county officials and residents who have nursed their dream of indoor aquatics over the past decade only to be repeatedly rudely awakened by issues involving its finances, location and design.

"To say this is disappointing would be an understatement," said Commissioner Susan Shaw (R-Huntingtown). "Everyone was excited about this finally happening."

The commissioners learned of the cost estimate in a letter from College of Southern Maryland President Elaine Ryan. According to the letter, designers had given the community college, a collaborator on the project, an estimate of $23.15 million for the 50-meter pool and building that would house it. There would be additional costs for a parking lot and adjustments to a traffic light and road.

A smaller 25-meter pool would exceed the county's budget by about $8.62 million. Originally, Ryan noted, campus officials had envisioned an even shorter 25-yard pool, but construction costs have risen so that even the original plan would exceed the budget.

Forced back to the drawing board, the commissioners decided Tuesday to solicit proposals from private contractors in hopes of building a pool at the budgeted amount.

"There's not much we can do at this point," said commissioners President David F. Hale (R-Owings). "We have to move on and see what other options are out there."

In coming weeks, Hale said, county staff members will assemble an inventory of county-owned land that potentially could be the site for the indoor pool and send out a request for bids from contractors to build either on one of those sites or at a contractor-suggested location.

The commissioners said they will stick with the same specifications they hammered out last summer: A 50-meter, 8-lane pool open to the public with a shallow entry for handicapped individuals and children, and a therapeutic component, for about $10.75 million.

Other options discussed at Tuesday's commissioners meeting included:

ยท Putting a "bubble" shelter over an existing outdoor pool.

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