Wallowa Valley Aquatic Center Study
Results from the 2022 Community Health Needs Assessment show that many residents in Wallowa County are concerned about the lack of fitness facilities, specifically a pool, available to the residents of Wallowa County. Wallowa County has not had a public pool since 2001. At the same time, numerous bodies of water surround the community, making water safety a necessity. The most recent census shows that the two fastest-growing populations are adults over 65 and children under 17.
The Wallowa Valley Center for Wellness and Wallowa Memorial Hospital have engaged BallardKing & Associates to complete a feasibility study for an aquatic Center. BallardKing is a facility planning firm based out of Denver, CO. We are so grateful to everyone who took the time to complete the survey.
The results from this survey, combined with other forms of public input, and a detailed market assessment will be used to recommend facility components and operational plans.
Our goal as community healthcare partners is to contribute to the health, wellness, and safety of our community and future generations through a welcoming, fun, safe, and affordable aquatic activities by building an indoor community aquatic center.
It is essential to understand that the survey was an opportunity to provide feedback and dream about what an indoor aquatic facility could include. We want to create an efficient facility that meets our community's needs. It was also crucial to understand the financial willingness of our community to create a facility that will be sustainable for many generations to come.
Overview of Survey Results
Wallowa Valley Center for Wellness and Wallowa Memorial Hospital commissioned an independent third-party consultant to conduct an Aquatic Center Feasibility Study for Wallowa County. The survey was available online for 3 weeks and paper copies were also made available.
- 1,286 responses were received, from a wide range of Wallowa County residents.
- 1,286 responses represent 17% of Wallowa County’s current population. This large amount of feedback is a strong showing for a survey of this type.
- 45.3% of the respondents were from Enterprise, 31.0% from Joseph, 12.9% from Wallowa, 6.6% from Lostine, and 4.2% from “other”.
- An overwhelming 93.7% of respondents indicated that there was a need for an indoor pool in the County.
- Swimming lessons, physical therapy, and recreational swimming were the top programs people wanted to see.
- When asked about supporting the sustainability and annual maintenance costs of a facility through increased property taxes, 89.5% of respondents indicated that they were willing to pay increased property taxes.
- When asked if they wanted to pay daily, monthly, or annual admission fees, each answer received ⅓ of the responses.
- Only 2.5% of respondents said they would not be willing to pay to access a pool.
What is Next?
- As part of the contract with BallardKing & Associates, we will receive an operations plan based on what respondents to the survey said they think we need and they’re willing to pay to support (number of bodies of water and types, additional features, staffing, locker room sizes, etc.).
- Once we have the square footage from the Operations Plan, then the Center for Wellness and Wallow Memorial Hospital will be able to get an Architectural sketch (not final plans) to understand further the associated costs of building and operating a facility that meets the needs of Wallowa County residents.
- Based on the above, further planning will need to occur including an approved building and operational plan, a funding plan, and a sustainability plan. This project could take up to 5-plus years to complete if all our due diligence favorably supports moving this project forward throughout each step. Our goal is to keep the community informed of our progress.
Frequently Asked Questions About a Potential Pool
1. How much money is the facility going to cost?
That has not been determined yet. The survey is a tool to help us confirm what should be included in the facility so that we can then have a cost estimate developed.
2. How long will the feasibility study take?
The study should be completed in February 2023.
3. Once the study is complete how long before the facility is built?
This is a difficult question to answer. After funding for construction has been secured, which will be a multi-year process, it is an approximate 2-year process where an architect is hired, the building is designed, permits are issued, and the facility is constructed.
4. Will I have to pay to use the facility?
Yes, and there will be options. The options are a daily admission fee or a monthly (annual) fee.
5. Is it normal to have to pay to use a facility like this?
It can vary depending on location and tax base, but it is more common than not to have to pay to use facilities like this.
6. Will I have to be a member of the facility to participate in programs?
No. Membership will not be required for program participation.
7. How much will potential programs cost?
We haven’t yet developed a fee structure for the programs that will take place in the building.
8. Are these types of facilities common?
They are more common than uncommon.
9. Will we be able to see the results of the survey once it is complete?
The survey results, at minimum an executive summary, will be available in the completed feasibility study.
10. Will the pools be heated?
11. What will be in the facility?
That’s the purpose of the survey. The list of components that are in the survey is built from previous public input that has been received. Your responses to the survey will help determine what is included.