Letter to the Editor | Celebrating success and meeting the challenge for a community pool

Our City deserves credit for managing the contract award for construction of the new Piedmont Community Pool project. After issuing bonds at very favorable interest rates, Piedmont ran into the same buzz-saw of construction cost inflation experienced by all of us, from professional contractors to DIY homeowners.

In response, the City cut approximately 20% from the project by prioritizing the pool size and reducing the square footage of the associated building.

Unprecedented cost inflation was not the last of the challenges. A lack of competition in the first round of pre-qualified bidding resulted in a low bid that was $3 million above the City’s already-reduced cost estimates. The City decided to reject the first bids, and cast a wider net to rebid the project.

That bold decision paid off with four bidders submitting in the second round and two significantly below the first round low bid. On Monday night, the City Council awarded the construction contract to Wickman Development and Construction, the low bidder from the second round, at $21.35 million in construction costs, in alignment with the City’s current cost estimates and over $3 million less than the low bid from the first round.

The City has done its part, now it’s time for us to do ours. Even with this successful bid process the City’s available funding remains $2.1 million short of what is necessary for the essential features we want in the recreational centerpiece of our City. These include a 27-meter x 25-yard deep water pool with a diving well; a scoreboard, electronic timing system, and toe ledges; more than 3000 square feet of shallow recreation water with zero beach entry and three additional 25-yard lap lanes; and a poolside multipurpose room.

We should be mindful that this is a 50-year investment in our City and in PUSD athletics. Our middle and high school teams should not experience half a century of practicing and competing in a substandard facility, nor should families using the pool lack enough shallow water for swim lessons and water play. Whatever we build will last generations, so we need to do it right.

The Piedmont Recreational Facilities Organization (PRFO) is leading the fundraising effort for the City, as we have for the successful Hampton Field project and Corey Reich Tennis Center. So far, PRFO has raised approximately $1 million, impressive in such a short period of time but still well below our $2.1 million target. Several Piedmont families have generously donated $100,000 and we invite you to join them at a leadership level. We also welcome donations of any amount, so please think about what you and your family might be able to contribute to the
success of this amazing community asset.

Our fundraising efforts will kick into high gear this week, with year-end approaching and the need for the City to lock in the essential features of the project. PRFO is made up of a handful of volunteers, and there is no way for us to reach out to everyone who might be willing and able to give. Please do not wait for a phone call or email, reach out to us at www.prfo.org. Let’s match the City’s track record of success and together build a world-class facility that we can all take pride in.

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