The Wes Deist Aquatics Center in Idaho Falls has been serving the community for almost 28 years. The facility regularly sees over 100 thousand visitors annually, and teaches hundreds of kids swim lessons every day. With all the use, it’s no wonder the city is prepping for some hefty maintenance expenses as parts and equipment wear out.
“Water is one of those things that starts to corrode,” said Greg A. Weitzel, the Director for the Idaho Falls Parks and Recreation Department. “It’s coming to the point where the large items need repairs and replacing.”
The most expensive items in the pool are the de-humidifiers. “They cost anywhere from $40 to $50 thousand dollars every time they break, because they loose their Freon,” said Weitzel. “So they’re expensive to fix, but that’s sort of a band-aid.”
To actually replace the de-humidifiers, “Those systems can run probably $400 to $500 thousand a piece, and we have two of them,” said Weitzel.
Other items that need work include the hot tub, and some of the stucco work on the south side of the building. Many of the metal pieces within the pool area are starting to rust, and will need to be replaced within the coming months.
Mayor Rebecca Casper says the city is looking at all the angles to see what’s the most cost effective method to keep the pool up to date.
“A good analogy is like when you repair a roof. You decide is this the year that I patch the roof, or the year that I replace the roof,” said Mayor Casper.
“This year we’re going to keep repairing the aquatics center,” said Mayor Casper. “But at some point those repairs will become so costly, that we’re going to be looking into major renovation and remodeling.”
Mayor Casper says she anticipates major work will done at the aquatics center within the coming years, and says city leaders will be looking at ways to fund the projects.