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Lake Oswego City Council prefers biggest, most expensive option for project.

COURTESY GRAPHIC - The City Council is leaning toward a Lake Oswego Recreation and Aquatics Center design that is larger and more expensive.Three potential designs for the long-awaited Recreation and Aquatics Center were presented to the Lake Oswego City Council last week, and all three options were over budget.

During the June 15 meeting, councilors leaned toward the third option, which is the largest and most expensive design. This option would increase the $30 million budget for the project, which is being split between the city and the Lake Oswego School District, to about $36.8 million.

"If we're going to spend the money, let's make sure we get the value for it," said Councilor Aaron Rapf, adding that the third option appeared to be the most cost-efficient and the best value.

Last September, the council approved a $2.5 million contract with Scott Edwards Architecture for the preparation of construction documents for the new center.

Architects have finished the schematic design phase for the project.

After $7 million was allocated to restore or rebuild the district pool via the 2017 approval of a $187 million Lake Oswego School District capital investment bond and the passage of a city parks and recreation bond in 2019 (which would provide additional funding), the district and the city signed a memorandum of understanding to build the pool on city property at the Lake Oswego Municipal Golf Course.

Plans are for the golf course to be reduced from an 18-hole Par 3 course to a 9-hole executive course.

After the MOU was signed last summer, both parties were given 180 days to work toward an intergovernmental agreement that outlined items within that facility.

The facility is slated to include a competitive swimming pool, a warm water recreation pool, dry activity and exercise rooms, classrooms for the Parks and Recreation Department, offices for the Parks and Recreation team members, a cardio weight room and a gym.

The second design option presented last week didn't include a gym or exercise rooms and landed just under 47,500 square feet.

According to Jennifer Marsicek, an architect with Scott Edwards Architecture, the idea was that the gym could be constructed at a later phase in the project.

This was the cheapest option and would cost about $32.9 million. The total projected annual operating cost would be just over $1 million.

The first option included everything outlined in the MOU, such as the gym and exercise rooms, and was just over 57,200 square feet.

The total estimated cost for this option would be roughly $34.5 million, with a total projected annual operating cost of about $826,000.

The third option was 60,400 square feet and included a larger recreation pool, weight and cardio room, exercise room and lobby and reception area. This option would be 23% over budget, with a total estimated cost of roughly $36.8 million. The total projected annual operating cost would be about $739,500.

While a large portion of the expense would derive from staffing, dry recreation activities perform better financially than aquatics because they requires less staff supervision. And though option three is the most expensive, it also has the highest level of recovery cost at 74%.

"This information represents a schematic level look at the project and as the project moves through design development capital costs ... the operational plan will continue to be refined," the staff report read. "The design team will present updated cost and operational information to the city council and school board at the end of design development, anticipated this fall."

Councilor Massene Mboup asked about access for those who may not be able to afford a membership.

Parks and Recreation Director Ivan Anderholm said the goal is to levy affordable rates and, for those who cannot afford it, use the scholarship program that's already in place with the parks department to help those who can't afford programs and activities.

Anderholm said the parks department uses a sliding scale similar to how the school district determines financial aid for meals that people can apply for.

Mboup also wanted to make sure neighbors' concerns regarding traffic and parking were addressed.

Anderholm said staff will continue to talk with neighbors and will make sure the building is designed in a "smart" way. He also said the improved golf course will bolster pedestrian connectivity.

Some councilors questioned the cost escalation and Anderholm said they ran into an anomaly in the market during the pandemic "where we're seeing some volatility."

Councilor Rachel Verdick questioned what would happen with large events given that only 174 parking spaces were planned for the golf course and the center.

Anderholm said the city could use a shuttle system with nearby facilities like the school parking lots, or Hazelia field for additional parking for large swimming events, and that the city is in conversation about this.

Other councilors were curious how the city would fund the additional costs.

The city said additional costs could be funded through existing bond money and system development charges, one-time fees developers pay for burdening public infrastructure.

"Use of additional bond and/or SDC funds would affect the ability to complete some projects from the possible bond project list," read the staff report.

Staff will return to council with a funding plan for option three during the next council meeting and construction for the project would likely begin in spring 2022 and continue into spring or fall of 2023.

For more information, visit the city's website.

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- Lake Oswego community receives update on recreation, aquatic center

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