By Selwyn Harris
After the idea was shot down last summer, Pahrump Town Board members are again revisiting an item relating to a feasibility study for an indoor town pool.
The study would cost roughly $15,000.
Local business owner Chris Tellis said he would pay 50 percent of the total cost, which would run more than $7,900 for the study provided by GC Wallace Engineering firm.
The town would have to provide an additional $7,900.
Tellis told board members that the community deserves to have a pool open to the public throughout the year.
“Pahrump is a very beautiful town and I love the area. The desert is extraordinary. The stars are like no other place you’ve ever seen. It is a harsh climate and in the summertime it gets to be 110 degrees and in the winter it gets under 30. I have been operating Custom Health and Fitness and I have a lot of family and employees who have come to me and said that now the community center is closed, the children are inside playing video games and watching TV and there is nothing for them to do. I can tell that there has been a longing for an indoor pool. I have a back building at the complex that I own where Red Apple Fireworks is located that looked like it was the right size,” he said.
Tellis went on to say that he spoke to Town Manager Bill Kohbarger about the idea.
He said both he and Kohbarger contacted the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board who unanimously passed a resolution to fund a feasibility study for the site.
“It’s not a feasibility of doing at that location, but it was a feasibility study to see whether this would work, and if not would there be another place where a pool could be established in this town. It’s a town of 38,000 and there is no indoor swimming pool. You can’t really compare it to soccer fields, baseball, or any other facility. There would be hundreds of people who would use this every day. Seniors would use it for senior aquatics. Kids would use it for swimming. It has the capacity to be a competition pool, so the high school can have a swimming team,” he said.
During the initial agenda item in July, Tellis admitted that he was not completely prepared when he spoke to board members, which is why he is requesting the board to revisit the issue.
Kohbarger said he has concerns about why the present cost of the study is more than when Tellis approached the board last year.
“The price of the study has gone up. The original price was $13,000 and it’s gone up $2,960, so it has gone from $13,000 to $15,960 and I asked that question and I was told the architectural fees went up due to an increase in rates,” he said.
The length of the proposed pool is 25 meters.
Tellis said the feasibility study will determine how many lanes the pool would have for competition use.
“The building has room for four lanes with bathrooms and changing rooms contained inside. If the town decided they wanted to put bathrooms and changing rooms on the outside of the building, then we could put six lanes in there. There is no requirement that you have any particular amount of lanes. An official competition pool normally has six lanes, but plenty of pools are used in facilities for exercise and just for training,” he said.
On the issue of having Pahrump Valley High School use the facility for swim meets, town board member Dr. Tom Waters said he has been in contact with Superintendent Dale Norton who said he also likes the idea.
His support came with at least one caveat.
“Dale Norton said the Nye County School District as a part of the community supports the indoor pool project. However, the Nye County School District is not in a position at this time to say we would be using it as it has a financial and liability impact on the district,” Waters told the board.
Waters also said that he has spoken to many local residents who would gladly welcome a year-round indoor community swimming pool.
“That was my main concern was whether the high school would be interested and obviously they are. There are a lot of people in the community that are also interested. I’m in favor of looking into it so long as we’re not tied to one facility and that is why I want to go back to the town manager to be sure that we looked at something with six lanes. If GC Wallace says that the building is not feasible, then to come back to us with a building that is feasible because I do feel that this town should have an indoor pool,” Waters said.
After further discussion which included having a town body enter into an agreement with a private company Board Chairman Harley Kulkin said he had serious reservations about the idea.
“I don’t believe a public facility so to speak should be in your private building. It needs to be on public land where we control everything. A government entity should not be paying for a pool in someone’s private building,” Kulkin cautioned.
The board eventually voted 4-1 to table the item for a later date.
Dr. Waters was the lone no vote.
Board members also voted unanimously to approve naming two fields at Ian Deutch Memorial Park to honor the memory of longtime Pahrump resident and businessman Ron Floyd who passed away last month.
A dedication ceremony will be held on Saturday March 23, at 9 a.m.