Miamisburg weighing how to fix closed Sycamore Trails aquatic center

City hires firm, will decide between repairs to leaking pipe infrastructure, or larger redesign of facility; public input upcoming, but project timeline uncertain

Nearly four months after Miamisburg canceled its entire 2024 swimming season at Sycamore Trails Aquatic Center due to issues with piping infrastructure, the city is a step closer to a solution.

Miamisburg City Council voted Tuesday night to enter into a professional services agreement with Champlin Architecture for design, analysis and concept planning for the aquatic center’s pool.

Ryan Davis, Miamisburg’s parks and recreation director, said the city earlier this winter put out a request for proposals comprised of two options, with one option to analyze and talk through the replacement of the piping infrastructure within the pool, “as we’re aware that is the piece that has critically failed over the last few years.”

A second option is to talk through a concept for a redesigned aquatic facility, Davis said.

“Then the component that was really important within the project was ‘how do we get community input and engagement with this project?’ " Davis said during Tuesday’s City Council meeting. “So with those three kind of framework for the proposals in mind, we sent that out for proposals and we got four back.”

Champlin Architecture will serve as the lead firm on the project, but they are working with a team of other companies to produce the best results, Davis said. The team is comprised of the Kleingers Group, which will handle landscape architecture, Counsilman-Hunsaker for aquatic engineering, Heapy engineering for mechanical, electrical and plumbing, Conger Construction Group for cost estimating, and PROS Consulting for operational analysis.

“Most recently, Champlin and Kleingers (Group) worked on the city of Mason Aquatic Center, a phenomenal facility down there for that community, all the way through the multiple phases and master planning work,” Davis said. “They’re doing work right now with the Countryside YMCA (in Lebanon), which is very similar to the work that we’re asking for the evaluation of repair versus replacement.”

After the firms perform initial investigations during February and March, the city will offer community impact input and participation in March and April, he said.

“The goal is to get (Champlin’s) report completed by early June and that will provide us, and you as council, with the with the information analysis and guidance to help make the decision of which path makes the most sense to move forward,” Davis said to Miamisburg City Council.

Miamisburg has had a public pool since 1937. It was part of a Depression-era Works Progress Administration project.

Sycamore Trails Aquatic Center was constructed in the early 1990s and opened to the public in 1996. According to the city, “the Aquatic Center was built after the city’s original pool, located in what is now Community Park, was put out of service, and the Department of Energy funded construction of the new facility within Sycamore Trails Park.”

Miamisburg announced in November that it canceled the 2024 swimming season at the Sycamore Trails Aquatic Center due to issues with the piping infrastructure.

The decision came after months of the city contracting with a company “widely recognized as the industry leader in identifying and correcting water loss in pools.” That company attempted to make critical repairs to the piping infrastructure, city officials said in November.

But a week-long operation and monitoring of water usage several weeks ago showed that the facility was losing more water than the average loss observed during the 2023 season.

That, the city says, indicated “an ongoing, system-wide pipe failure was occurring, and previous repairs only increased pressure within the system, leading to additional breaks and leaks.”

Davis said he realizes there are “a lot of questions out there.”

“The pool’s closed this year because of the piping infrastructure,” he said. “Will it be open next year? What does that look like? It really comes down to the information that we can gather, the direction that we get from our community ... and the information that we get to review here with this group.

“If we’re doing the pipe replacement option, in concept, the initial discussions with Champlin and the team is that we’ll be able to get a bid package out no later than September ... and if we do a redesign, it will take just a little bit longer, ideally by November of this year, to be able to put out a bid package.”

Davis said the project sees the city “going as fast as we can, but as slow as we have to, to make sure that we’re thorough and giving it the time that it needs.”

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