SIBLEY—The city of Sibley is hoping its renovated swimming pool facility makes a big splash during this year’s Good Ole Summertime celebration.
The Sibley Outdoor Aquatic Center is scheduled to open for the 2019 summer season on Saturday, June 8, in the Osceola County seat community of about 2,600.
The former Sibley Municipal Swimming Pool was closed last year because of the approximately $2.8 million remodeling project.
Work on the renovations began during the fall of 2017, really got going during the warm-weather months of last year and has been finished up this spring.
“It’s just a huge relief to finally be able to see it all come together,” said Sibley city clerk and finance director Susan Sembach.
Sibley city administrator and economic development director Glenn Anderson echoed Sembach’s excitement.
“There are so many activities for so many levels of ages,” Anderson said.
The outdoor aquatic center features new amenities, such as a splash pad, zero-depth entry, water play structures, flooded decks, large sunshade umbrellas, a six-person water therapy seat, a basketball hoop, a volleyball net, a three-lane lap area, a log roll, a climbing wall, water slides and a diving board.
“In the zero-depth area, there are all kinds of fun stuff for the toddlers to do,” Sibley water superintendent Cory Dykstra said of the northwest part of the swimming pool.
“There’s a little whale slide, there are some bubblers, there’s a frog that has water that sprays out of its mouth, there’s a wave maker,” he said.
The amenities vary as the depth of the swimming pool increases going east from the zero-depth area.
There is an enclosed twisty tube slide located in the northeast corner of the facility near where there are multicolored plastic lily pads to walk across.
“There’s a water therapy seat kind of close to the lily pads,” said Dykstra, who has managed the renovation project for the city. “The water therapy seat has jets. It inducts air into the jets. It’s kind of just a bubbly effect, like a hot tub.”
The water level of the swimming pool — which decreased in capacity from about 284,000 gallons to about 279,000 gallons during the remodeling process — gets even deeper heading to the south from the northeast part of the outdoor aquatic center.
“As you get into deeper water, you get to the log roll,” Dykstra said. “You can have a person on each side and they can try and knock each other off.
“There’s a rock-climbing wall that’s in the deep end,” he said. “You can have up to two people on that at a time as well.”
The two-thirds-of-a-meter diving board is located at the deepest end of the swimming pool — 11 feet, 4 inches deep, to be exact — as is a large tube slide that will send swimmers straight down about a 45-degree angle into the water.
“It basically just shoots you out into the deep end and you’re still about 4 feet above the water when you come out of the slide and land in the pool,” Dykstra said.
He talked about the outdoor aquatic center’s new splash pad.
“It can be operated when the pool’s closed,” Dykstra said. “In the mornings before the pool opens, it’s accessible for free.
“When the pool’s open, we’ll lock the exterior gate and open the interior gate,” he said. “At that point, if the pool’s open, you have to pay to get to it.”
The renovation project also included the complete remodel, rehabilitation and reuse of existing swimming pool facilities, including the filtration system building, the bathhouse, parking lots and sidewalks.
The city’s outdoor aquatic center, which dates back to the late 1950s and is the only one of its kind in Osceola County, is located at 800 11th Ave. in the eastern part of the community near the Sibley Golf & Country Club.
More than $500,000 was raised through donations and fundraising for the renovation project since the process toward refurbishing the swimming pool facility began to really make waves during the fall of 2014.
“It’s been slowly in the works for, I would say, eight to 10 years,” Dykstra said. “The last five is when it really got going. That’s when we really got focused on fundraising, got focused on the engineer that we wanted, got focused on the plan that we wanted, and went from there.”
Registered Sibley voters were asked the following ballot question on Nov. 7, 2017:
“Shall the city of Sibley enter into a loan agreement and issue its general obligation capital loan notes in an amount not exceeding the amount of $1.6 million for the purpose of reconstructing, enlarging, improving and equipping of a swimming pool?”
For the public measure to pass, it needed to receive approval of at least 60 percent of those voting on the bond issue. The ballot question easily passed with just over 84 percent of voters approving it.
The Enhance Iowa Board on March 14, 2018, awarded Sibley $250,000 through a Community Attraction and Tourism grant for the renovation of the city’s existing swimming pool facility into a more updated outdoor aquatic center.
“There are so many neat things that are involved with this that just make you giddy about this community coming together,” said Anderson, Sibley’s city administrator and economic development director.
“Raising $500,000 for a community of this size tells you that the community supports it, not just to mention the 84 percent passing of the bond issue,” he said. “It’s just a huge positive.”