Lowell and South Pools Planning, Public Outreach and Engagement

Lowell Pool Entrance
Lowell Pool
South Pool Entrance
South Pool

The Boise Parks and Recreation Department owns and operates six outdoor pools located across the City of Boise. A public outreach and engagement process is underway to gather community input on the future of Lowell and South Pools, which are the oldest facilities within the city’s public pool system. Information and feedback gathered throughout the outreach process will be compiled and presented to city leaders as decisions are made about the future of both pools.

COMMUNITY SURVEY RESULTS

Community surveys for both Lowell and South Pools launched in February and closed on March 28, 2022. The goal of the two surveys was to gather input on city values, potential scenarios for each pool site, any additional comments and resident stories related to the two aging recreation facilities. The city received a wide range of responses to both surveys, with 2,167 individual responses to the South Pool survey and 1,869 individual responses to the Lowell Pool survey. For an overview of results and survey analysis from our local outreach partners at Agnew::Beck Consulting, click the button below.

Survey Results Report

Survey responses and individual comments are included in the following documents. Responses are anonymous.

South Pool Survey Responses

Lowell Pool Survey Responses

In addition to the background information provided on this project page, Boise Parks and Recreation has answered a variety of frequently asked questions about the two pools, the planning process, budgeting and more.

Lowell and South Pools FAQ

Pools History

South and Lowell Pools were constructed around the year 1953. Both pools were designed by engineer Wesley Bintz and constructed by Jordan and Sons of Boise. According to reports, Bintz founded the Bintz Pool Company and patented his above-ground pool design in the 1920s. Online research estimates more than 100 Bintz pools were constructed across the country between the 1910s and 1960s. South and Lowell Pools are two of just over a dozen remaining. Fans of the “Bintz Pool” style created a Facebook page to chronicle his work and the status of Bintz pools across the country.

The matching municipal pool entrances at Lowell and South feature Art Deco/Art Moderne design elements. Each above-ground pool is accessed via a stairway from the locker room and restroom area. The facilities feature a deck, diving board, shallow end starting at three feet deep and a deep end at 12 feet deep.

South and Lowell Pools closed in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic and remain closed following a series of condition and ADA assessments that revealed serious deficiencies and safety issues.

The Boise City Department of Arts & History has compiled research on Lowell and South Pools, as well as the city’s overall municipal pools system.

Read Lowell and South Pools History

Read A “Municipal” History

Current Condition

The City of Boise contracted with local architectural firm Cushing Terrell in November of 2020 to conduct an on-site evaluation of both South and Lowell Pools. For this analysis, Aquatic Design Group of Carlsbad, California, served as a subcontract consultant. Using industry standards and code requirements, the consultants developed a report including an analysis of architectural, mechanical, electrical, plumbing, site and pool systems. An ADA analysis was also performed separately by Tindale Oliver, a national expert on addressing accessibility.

Read the Facilities Assessment Report

Read the ADA Assessment

The reports detail a variety of deficiencies with both pools and recommend significant steps necessary to bring the pools up to safety and accessibility standards. The assessments found potential asbestos in wall insulation at the pools and lead paint. There is damage to the interior of the pool facilities, walls and stairs are in poor condition and pipes are corroded, among other issues.

Engineers and architects with experience in historic structures are a part of Cushing Terrell’s project team and remain an integral part of the facility assessment process.

Additional structural assessments completed in February 2022 found both pool structures are in fair condition. There is no evidence to suggest that South Pool possess any structural deficiencies that would differ from Lowell Pool, so the structural analysis completed by Cushing Terrell and ATLAS only includes Lowell Pool at this time.

Read the Lowell Pool Structural Report

Cost Analysis

The City of Boise Public Works Department estimated the cost to correct already identified issues independent of any structural deficiencies was approximately $2.4 million per pool (2021 estimate). This estimate does not represent the full scope of anticipated costs for either project.

An in-depth structural testing evaluation was completed in February 2022 to determine the impact of age and use on the integrity of both South and Lowell Pools. This information is being used by city staff to update cost estimates and potential future scenarios for the public pools.

At open houses held at both South and Lowell Pools in April 2022, the City of Boise and Cushing Terrell presented two potential scenarios for further study for each pool, with updated cost estimates attached to each. Click on each scenario below to view a rendering, cost estimate for that particular scenario and additional information.

SOUTH POOL
Scenario 1 – Bring the pool up to code and meet accessibility standards
Scenario 2 – Reimagine the pool on site with opportunity to preserve the historic Art Deco entrance

LOWELL POOL
Scenario 1 – Bring the pool up to code and meet accessibility standards
Scenario 2 – Reimagine the pool on site with opportunity to preserve the historic Art Deco entrance

Please keep in mind, the scenarios presented are dependent on a variety of factors and the renderings shown are not meant to represent a guaranteed outcome.

Public Outreach

December 2021

Initial stakeholder focus groups held for each pool.

  • These meetings, hosted by Boise Parks and Recreation and Agnew::Beck Consulting, convened recreational users, neighbors, historic preservationists, members of the mobility community, and more with the goal of understanding user preferences, historic importance and community sentiment associated with each pool site.

Using initial information gathered from these December focus groups the department is planning a broader series of public engagement opportunities in 2022 to discuss the future of South and Lowell Pools.

January – May 2022

Additional pools outreach opportunities to include a community survey, workshops and tours of the facilities as weather conditions and COVID-19 precautions allow.

PDF Version

Timeline

November 2021

December 2021

  • Initial stakeholder meetings held for South and Lowell Pools
  • Coordination of structural assessments on both pool facilities

January 2022

February 2022

  • Community update and project web page launch
  • Launch community survey

March 2022

  • Close community survey and analyze results
  • Community surveys closed March 28, 2022

April 2022

  • Release initial survey results
  • Host planning workshops and in-person tours at pools
  • South Pool Open House, Tuesday, April 26 from 3 to 6 p.m.
  • Lowell Pool Open House, Thursday, April 28 from 3 to 6 p.m.
  • Gather additional community feedback

May 2022

  • Summarize key findings and recommendations from public engagement into final report
  • Presentation of feedback and recommendations to commissions and Boise City Council

June 2022

  • Next phase of project determined following recommendations from city leadership

Community feedback and preferences will be compiled into a report for Mayor Lauren McLean and members of the Boise City Council to consider when determining the future of both pools. This information will also be used in presentations to other city commissions, including the Historic Preservation Commission, due to Lowell Pool’s location in the North End Historic District, and the Boise Parks and Recreation Commission.

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