The Rosemeade Rainforest Aquatic Center is expected to open on Aug. 2, but the Carrollton City Council has lost faith in the contractor to finish the project in a timely manner.
The aquatic center is undergoing a renovation project, which was passed as part of the 2018 bond election. Gold Medal Pools was selected as the contractor for the project, but the project is months behind. During Tuesday night’s meeting, the council expressed their frustration and disappointment in the contractor’s performance.
“This has become a huge problem for our residents,” said Mayor Kevin Falconer. “... I’m an architect and I understand construction. This is a total failure on your part.”
In June, Gold Medal Pool representatives said they were behind due to excessive rain events and promised to have the project complete by July 12. With another missed deadline, the pool won’t open until summer is nearly over.
“It’s impacted the everyday life of every citizen,” said Deputy Mayor Pro Tem Francis Cruz. “This was one of the big highlights of our bond project that everyone was excited about.”
Scott Whitaker, director of parks and recreation, said the city has hired 45 lifeguards, 11 swim instructors and nine managers in anticipation of the center’s reopening. Without the pool being open, the staff has only been able to work few hours.
“They’re not getting the money they thought they would,” Whitaker said. “We hope they come back (next year).”
If it opens in August, the city staff projects bringing in about $36,400 in revenue from the center, which is significantly less than the first projection of $70,000.
During the delays, Farmers Branch agreed to allow Carrollton residents to use its pool while the Rainforest Aquatic Center was under construction, which has affected Farmers Branch’s attendance numbers.
“It’s now impacted our sister city that has been so gracious to open up their pool, and now their residents aren’t having as good a time either because we have too many people at a small pool,” Falconer said.
Craig Kooda, general contractor with Gold Medal Pools, said crews have been working seven days a week to get the project finished.
“We’re actively doing everything we can to get the project done,” he said. “We’re confident we’ll be done in a few weeks.”
Kooda said rain has been the main reason for the setbacks and some other challenges that arose along the way.
Daren Altieri, construction lead, apologized for the delay and the problems it caused the city. He said he understood why the council was upset.
“I didn’t think it would take this long to get the job done,” he said. “We haven’t met your expectations.”
Kooda said Gold Medal Pools will work with the city to try to make it up to residents such as offering residents a special night at Hawaiian Falls in the Colony. Falconer and the council agreed that residents shouldn’t have to pay for a special night and more than one night should be offered to allow everyone a chance to take part in it.
Once the complex is open, daily entrance fees will be discounted to $3 per resident and $6 per non-resident on both weekdays and weekends.