Aquatic Center Plans Millions Over Budget

New cost estimates to build an aquatics center in the River Valley have come in over budget.

Sebastian County Judge David Hudson said a Larkin Aquatics, a design architect, helped create a plan which fell within the $8 million budget agreed upon and funded by Sebastian County and the city of Fort Smith. However, Flinco Constructive Solution, Tulsa-based construction firm with an office in Springdale, estimates the cost of the project based on current designs will amount to $11 million.

“Whenever we heard that number we asked the construction manager to work with the design architect to lay out what type of facility with the specific features that $8 million would allow us to construct,” said Hudson.

Fort Smith Parks Director Mike Alsup said they are now re-evaluating the project design. He said this may include eliminating the diving well, as well as reducing the size of the pool and lazy river.

“One of the slides was going to be a larger slide where two or three people would go down on it on a raft together,” said Alsup. “That one has been pulled out and a single slide has been put in.”

According to Hudson, other adjustments may include reducing the number of filtration systems and redesigning the building housing the locker room and concessions.

Both Hudson and Alsup believe the aquatics center will benefit the community, even if they must forgo some features during construction.

“It’ll be an asset to the area,” said Hudson. “It will continue to promote quality of life in our region. It will serve everybody in Sebastian County.”

Hudson said they hope to make a final decision about the plans before Thanksgiving, and assuming that deadline is met, the construction schedule should not be affected.

The next meeting of the Sebastian County Quorum Court is scheduled on Tuesday, November 19 at 7 p.m. in the County Courthouse.


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