City approves $20,000 toward further design work for new aquatics center in Winnemucca

Although the City of Winnemucca is still seeking the funds to construct a new municipal aquatics center, they are actively engaging in design services that will help realize the actual cost of construction and provide an accurate budget and model for the project. 

At their regular meeting on Jan. 23, the Winnemucca City Council approved $21,425 toward further geotechnical work at the anticipated site for the aquatics center, located on East Winnemucca near Lowry High School and the Splash Pad.

According to City officials, the engineers for the project have requested a second, more extensive, round of geotechnical testing be done at the site after the first test found organic material in the soil sample that is not optimal for the construction of a foundation. 

“In the first investigation where [Universal Engineering Sciences (UES)] just did a small borehole straight down they encountered some organic material that is not suitable for foundations. It was fairly close to the surface so they don't think it will affect things too much,” assured City Manager Alicia Heiser.

UES, the company conducting the geotechnical work, is also working with KNIT, the architectural design firm that is spearheading the total design of the facility, and both believe that the testing is necessary to ensure that the facility will be structurally sound. 

In UES’s change order request for additional geotechnical services, they explain that “[UES] recommend[s] this additional work to better understand the nature of the soil layers containing elevated organics content (e.g., twigs and other woody material) in various stages of decay that UES encountered during our field exploration of the site in August 2023. 

The presence of this material at the site was unexpected, as it is not indicated within the published soils, geologic, topographic, and historic land-use information of the site and its vicinity that we reviewed in preparation for our exploration.

In addition, they had not encountered similar material during previous investigations they had conducted within the greater Winnemucca area.

Heiser explained to the Council that the project would require UES to make three trenches in different locations of the site, inside and outside of the proposed area for the aquatics center, “that will determine how far that organic material extends.” 

The amount of organic material that UES finds during their testing will determine significant aspects of the design of the new aquatics center, according to Heiser. 

“[UES] expect[s] that they'll have to over-excavate all of this organic material no matter what. And so it does play a role in the proposed depth of the pool because if they have to over-excavate to say 12 feet or 15 feet, then it makes sense to just have a very deep end of the pool, which in the future or now could have a diving board or something," Heisier said."If we have to dig that far anyway, we might as well make the pool that deep, if it's more shallow and we only have to excavate to 10 feet then that could limit the depth of the pool."

According to UES, the further testing will proceed as soon as possible after they receive approval from the City and will have their report updated within four weeks of the geotechnical samples being evaluated.