High Point went out to bid in June to replace the pool for the 2020 season with an RFP (Request for Proposal)
A meeting was held at the clubhouse for residents on July 11, 2019 to explain why the pool opened late and what was being done to ensure the problem would not be repeated in 2020. (Information below)
Association trustees met in August 2019 to review the situation and the results of the RFP solicitation. Six commercial pool construction firms in Ohio were invited to bid on the construction project. Only one bid was received from Ohio Custom Pools & Spas in North Royalton. Other solicited firms did not submit bids. A number of the five firms did respond that they were already booked into 2021 with projects and were not interested in bidding. We do appreciate the time and effort that Ohio Custom Pools & Spas put into their bid.
The results? Our one bid was 2.5 times the estimate that the trustees anticipated. Why so far off? 1) Costs for construction since 1997 have gone up more than anticipated. 2) Trustees significantly underestimated the cost to demolish and remove the old pool. Our current pool has 4 times the material of the pool that was replaced in 1997, which, thanks to EPA requirements, is much more expensive and difficult to dispose of. 3) With only one pool company bidding on a project only a month in the future, the one bid reflected the desperation of a short-notice solicitation.
So what happens now? There will be no new pool in 2020. And not for some years to come. If you look back to the January 2019 Ten-Year Projected Budget, we did not anticipate replacing the pool this year. Our plan was for a new pool for the summer of 2023. Association trustees will go back to the drawing board to look at the projected finances. Even with the 2020 dues increase to $390 per year (which was announced in 2016), it will be challenging to put additional funds in reserve to replace the pool in that timeframe.
THAT MEANS over this winter we will carefully monitor the pool for leaks and if we run into the same problem as this year, try to resolve them so that we can open Memorial Day weekend. If there are leaks, we will have to follow the same search and repair format as this year. We have no choice. Those repairs take time and are costly, but the alternative would be no pool in High Point. That would not be good. In the meantime, trustees are working to secure private funding that would allow the association to borrow funds in case the project becomes necessary before funds are on hand.
Private funding is the only alternative, as it would require a vote to change the 1976 Covenants and Restrictions to grant borrowing authority to the association. It would take 90% of the 640 residents to approve an amendment to allow borrowing authority for the association. It has been 4 years that the trustees have asked residents to approve four changes to the Bylaws, which only requires 50% approval. While almost every vote has been in favor, less than 30% of the residents have bothered to vote. Options are limited.
At the same time, the trustees are working on preparing revised specifications to go out to bid in 2020 for a 2022 or 23 pool project.
There have been no answers as to why we had 8 leaks this year. Because they were scattered all over the pool on fill and return lines it was not related to underground earth movement or freezing pipes. Experts who look at the striated pipes could give no explanation for the situation.
Questions about this can be directed to the trustees.
Questions & Answers from Resident Meeting on 7-11-2019
1. Current Pool history
New pool built in 1997 at a cost of $276,363 by Designor Pools in Columbia Station. They told us to expect 20 years. Pool is now 22 years old. Back in 2016 we had some repairs done and the pool contractor told us the pool was in good shape and we should be able to get another 10 years from it. Obviously, that was not correct.
2. Why did pool not open on time in 2018?
In 2018 we had one underground leak that we found when the pool was uncovered in May. We brought in American Leak Detection (ALD), a specialized firm to detect the underground leak in pipes. Then we had to dig up the pipe where the leak was detected, do repairs to the pipe, the concrete shell and the interior pool surface. There was only one leak and we opened about a week late.
3. Why did the trustees not anticipate leaks after last year?
In the fall of 2018, the pool lost most of the water, which told us there was another leak. As soon as weather allowed in the spring of 2019, we brought in ALD again to find the leak. That had to happen 8 times for 8 leaks. Each time ALD found a leak, it had to be repaired before the system could be pressurized. When it failed, we had to bring ALD back to find the next leak. Each time a leak was detected, it had to be repaired before it could be tested. ALD does work for commercial pipeline companies and gasoline dealers and is in high demand.
4. Why not reduce the dues and not have a pool at all?
Many of the old-time High Point residents have been moving out and new families with young children are moving in. That would stop if there is no pool. Values of homes would go down and time to sell a home will extend. Realtors are clear that our pool is a selling feature, as is the clubhouse. People who live in this development bought their home knowing there was a pool, and they expect there will be a pool for the future. It would take a vote of 90% of residents to remove an amenity like a pool that has been in place since 1974.
5. Do we have reserve funds to pay for a new pool? Would an assessment be necessary to pay for a pool?
High Point operates with a 10-year budget forecast, based on our Asset Reserve Analysis. We do not have the funds on hand to replace the pool at this time, but had projected to have them on hand in the fall of 2022 and spring of 2023 to replace the pool. In order to secure a loan from a lending institution, it would be necessary to have the authority in our Covenants and Restrictions to borrow on behalf of the association. We do not have that authority spelled out. Banks and lending institutions require that specific authority be granted to association trustees. Changing our C&R would require approval by 90% of our residents. Again, highly improbable. It is not our plan to have an assessment to replace the pool, although levying an assessment is within the powers of the association trustees. That has never been done and we don’t intend to have an assessment now.
6. Can the association borrow money to replace the pool?
Although a lending institution would require borrowing authority, private equity and private capital lenders do not have the same requirements. We are engaged in a search for a private lender that would loan the money.
7. Why not just roll the dice and go another year fixing leaks?
Trustees do not believe that is the best approach with the number of leaks we had this year, but if we cannot find a private lender or if we cannot find a qualified contractor, that might be necessary. Our pool is on borrowed time. On a regular basis, the trustees complete an Asset Reserve Analysis (these can be found on our website) that is connected to our 10-year budget forecast. As it is, the 2019 Analysis is now outdated by the pool situation.
8. Would we replace the pool with an exact replacement or something different?
It stands to reason that an exact replacement would be the least expensive and easiest to accomplish in order to have a new pool open and ready by Memorial Day of 2020. We submitted an RFP (Request for Proposal) to a total of 6 qualified pool contractors in the State of Ohio. Several immediately responded that they were booked and could not take on our project. Bids are due back by the end of July and we will see where we are at that time.
9. How much will a new pool cost and when would we know if that is possible?
In 1997 it was a complete reconfiguration of the new pools and that required a lot of dirt be moved and compacted. This time we expect the cost to increase, but using the same layout will hopefully contain the cost increase. Trustees expect to borrow between $200,000 and $300,000 to fund the project. If a new pool is the result of the RFP, demolition of the current pool would have to begin immediately after Labor Day. Fall is the most dependable time for weather and the removal of the current basin would need to be done before installation of the new basin. That would need to sit over the winter and the interior finish and other finish work would be done in the spring, when the weather is less workable, in order to open by Memorial Day weekend.
10. Will the trustees communicate to residents through the decision process?
As the pool delays were posted on the website, updates will be provided as the process moves forward. Depending on what happens, the trustees will try to involve interested residents as points where input is able to be offered. We are collecting names and contact information for those that want to be involved.
11. What happens if the bids are too high or if a qualified contractor cannot be found?
A decision would have to be made to secure the pool as best possible until next spring and have the systems tested as early as possible and if leaks are again present, find them and repair them to be open on time.
12. What caused the PVC pipes to break?
We don’t know. Our pool management company and ALD both have not seen PVC cracking like ours did before. It was not due to an earthquake or natural movement of the earth. It did not appear as if it was deterioration either. It appeared to be some sort of stress caused the fractures of the pipes, especially by joints.
13. Who are the trustees that are up for election in January? Will that affect the pool project decision?
Two trustees, Ken Evans and Bob Campobenedetto, are up for election. Even if those two trustees would be voted out, the remaining three would most likely continue the process and project to see it to conclusion.
14. How can residents be involved in the decision and planning process?
Residents who might be interested in participating in the planning process were asked to sign up at the resident meeting on July 11. Names of those interested can also be submitted by sending an email to the trustees at firstname.lastname@example.org .
Pool hours for 2019 are CHANGED. SEE HOURS BELOW
Monday to Thursday are Noon to 9:00 pm
Friday pool hours are Noon to 10:00 pm
Saturday and Sunday pool hours are 11:00 am to 10:00 pm
JUNE 17 - Metro Pools lifeguards and service were at High Point pool early this morning in full force to bring the pool to life. Chemicals are being added, the pool is being vacuumed and the heater is on. All systems are go for the projected opening on Thursday, June 20, but check back here for details as we get closer. POOL PASSES WILL BE REQUIRED FOR ENTRY. This is for resident safety as only our families are allowed to use our facilities and this is for everyone’s protection. If you did not receive your pool passes earlier in May or cannot now find them, you can get a form to replace passes from the lifeguard podium at the pool. We appreciate the patience of residents while the leaks were repaired and again apologize for the inconvenience and disappointment.