TOPEKA (KSNT) — The Shawnee County Commissioners are moving forward with its plans to replace the outdated Oakland Community Pool, which is facing increasing maintenance costs due to its aging infrastructure. 

On Thursday, Shawnee County Commissioners approved the Parks and Recreation department to enter into contract negotiations with Dondlinger Construction to determine a maximum price for the Oakland Aquatic Facility project.

A Parks and Recreations spokesperson says it has not yet been determined whether the new aquatic facility in Oakland-Billard Park will be a pool or a high-quality spray park.

The Oakland Pool, constructed in 1965 with an aluminum base, is financially burdensome to maintain. To address this issue, the county has decided to replace the pool entirely with a modern facility. Once the project’s price is established through contract negotiations, Shawnee County will commence a civic engagement initiative to involve the local community in the decision-making process.

Tim Laurent, the Director of Shawnee County Parks and Recreation, emphasized the importance of community involvement in determining the type of pool to be built.

“We will work with the community in Oakland, we will show them, hopefully we will identify options,” Laurent said. “Here are some things we can do under that budget amount, then we will start from there. We definitely want to hold tight to that budget. That community engagement piece will help us narrow down what we ultimately end up with.”

The county will conduct an extensive public engagement effort including meetings and online surveys.

The funding for the project is an allocated budget of $4,000,000 which will be financed through revenue bonds. This ensures that the pool replacement remains within the set financial constraints. The construction process is expected to be completed promptly, with the new Oakland Aquatic Facility set to open its doors to the public by next summer.

The aquatic facility will be built directly in front of the current pool, to the south of the current structure, towards the street.

The replacement of the Oakland Pool demonstrates Shawnee County’s commitment to providing its residents with safe and modern recreational amenities. Through proactive measures, the county aims to create an enjoyable environment for the community while managing maintenance costs effectively.