Try saying, “the Yukon Kuskokwim Regional Aquatic Health and Safety Center” three times real fast. That is the name for the community’s new pool, currently being constructed by Bethel Services, Inc. (BSI), a construction company owned by Bethel Native Corporation. The building is going up on ten acres of City land in City Subdivision.
“The pool is 50 percent complete,” said Doug Cobb, Project Manager for Project Development Associates (ProDev) based in Anchorage.” Nearly all of the construction materials are already in Bethel.” Project Development Associates was hired by the City to manage the construction project.
The $23 million project represents the largest capital project the City has ever done. According to Mike Nevenzel, construction manager with ProDev, the building is expensive due to the special foundation required in Bethel’s permafrost to hold 1.2 million pounds of water, the high cost to ship materials to Bethel, and the Davis Bacon wages paid to the workers.
The six-lane competition size pool, family slide area, and kiddie pool will have walls to separate them, but all share the same 133,000 gallons of water. The depth of the pool will range from 3.5 feet to 7 feet. It will be deep enough to host swim meets that use starting blocks for diving and allow for recreational jumping and diving off the side of the deep end.
A diving board was ruled out early in the planning process because of the high operating costs associated with heating the air space required above the diving board and the cost to heat the water required for a 12 ft. deep pool.