This would be a great resource for City of Bozeman on the west side of town – plus with the Swim Center’s structural issues this could be a good long term solution.
City starting planning for pool, library facility in west Bozeman
By Nora Shelly Chronicle Staff Writer Jun 7, 2022
Plans to build a city recreation facility on the west side of Bozeman are moving forward.
A proposed west side recreation center — with an aquatics facility and library branch — has been in the city’s parks plans for a decade. The city sent out a request for proposals for early stage work on community engagement and conceptual design, but any construction is still a long way off.
City Manager Jeff Mihelich said Tuesday that the city expects to start getting public feedback on the project late this summer and then work on broad concept designs, like space planning and how many stories the building would be.The city plans to request the project funding be put up to the voters in the November 2023 elections, Mihelich said.
Any ballot question would have to be approved by city commissioners. There is no determined location for the facility yet.“We need more swimming space, we need more recreation facility space and we need more library space for a city of our size,” Mihelich said Tuesday.
“We’re just growing so much that we’ve kind of outgrown our current facilities in terms of overall demand and need.”
If the ballot question is approved and the vote succeeds, further design and engineering work would take place in 2024, construction in 2025 with the earliest slated opening 2026, Mihelich said, qualifying that those are loose estimations.
Mihelich’s proposed fiscal year 2023 budget includes $200,000 for the project.“We’re going to engage the community, ask them what they would like to see in a facility and then based on that do some preliminary designs and space planning,” Mihelich said.
The city’s capital improvement plan, which lays out capital spending for several years, includes $50 million as a proposed allocation to the project in fiscal year 2025. Mihelich said the situation with the Swim Center — which was abruptly closed last month after structural inadequacies were found — isn’t having too much impact on the project since it’s been planned for years, but is adding some urgency.
Library Director Susan Gregory said the first time someone asked her when a library branch would be built on the west side of town was her first week of work — ten years ago.People have continued to request it in the years since, Gregory said, and staff are often asked about future west side expansion when the library’s bookmobile travels to west Bozeman.
Gregory said she would imagine a west side branch would focus on services to children, making partnering with a recreation facility helpful.
“It just seems like it’ll be an ideal family sort of campus,” Gregory said. “Having a library branch on the west side of town has been something we have been slowly working towards literally over the last 10 years. Certainly it’s a priority given Bozeman’s explosive growth.”