Aquatics Center Gets First Change Order

Work progressed Monday on removing the foundation of the Memorial Park swimming pool in Yankton to make way for the Huether Family Aquatics Center. To see a video, visit

The Huether Family Aquatics Center is going to come complete with a few enhancements.

During its regular meeting Monday, the Yankton City Commission voted 8-0 in favor of passing a $468,763 change order for the project that would include a concrete parking lot and reintroduce a few amenities that had been contemplated at earlier stages.

City Manager Amy Leon said the city has been in discussion with engineers about potential small-scale enhancements since bidding on the project wrapped up.

“As you are aware, commissioners, we had really great bids come in for the Huether Family Aquatics Center,” Leon said. “Once those bids came in, we talked with our engineers about maybe some ways we could enhance the project to make it a little more attractive, maybe more valuable — things that we would have done had it been in our original budget to do so.”

At one point, estimates on the cost of the project had reached nearly $17 million, prompting the city to scale back on some items such as bathhouse size and smaller amenities. But when bids were let last year, none came in at over $11 million. The city accepted a bid from Welfl Construction for $10,386,500.

The biggest of the change-order items was to abandon plans for an asphalt parking lot in favor of a concrete parking lot, which would last longer and require less maintenance.

“We feel is a very good investment,” Leon said.

The parking lot is budgeted at $410,876.

An aesthetic option came in the form of sodding the turf area inside the fence instead of seeding it.

“That was really an idea that came from our parks department and park staff knowing that the first year — if we were seeding — while that would take less of an expense, it would take a lot longer to establish and we might end up with, depending upon the spring we have, more of a mud area than turf area,” Leon said. “The sod will just get it up and running a little bit nicer right when we open.”

Sodding is expected to cost $31,193.

Leon said the rest of the change order includes amenities for the aquatics center itself.

“Two of the other items included in this change order is the addition of a rock climbing wall and the Wibit Wiggle Bridge,” she said.

She added that these items had been considered earlier in the process.

“Now, those are two things that we had included in the original design but didn’t include in the original specifications because we didn’t think our budget allowed for it,” she said. “But because the bids came in as they did, we feel now that we can include those things.”

The climbing wall would be $17,501 while the Wibit Wiggle Bridge costs $9,193.

Leon noted that she had been approached by one resident who said that it would be unwise to move forward with the change order.

Commissioner Jake Hoffner, who has previously urged caution about going too wild with additions since the bid came in under budget, said that he supported the change order due to its inclusion of a concrete parking lot.

“I think building it better for less maintenance will pay in the long run,” Hoffner said.

However, he reiterated his earlier position Monday evening.

“I just have apprehensiveness for what we add because we had a bid,” he said. “Not to say we don’t want to build a good solid waterpark. Obviously, we had a certain responsibility that we had certain amenities that we sold to the public and they voted on. I just think we need to be careful on what items we add if that wasn’t in the package.”

Leon said she isn’t anticipating other change orders to add features and amenities moving forward.

“We haven’t gotten into construction, so I don’t want to go as far as to say as we won’t see any change orders,” she said. “I don’t think we’re going to have any more enhancements. But, should something come forward from the commission — or even from the public — that they’d like to consider, we’d certainly take a look at it.”

Commissioner Stephanie Moser was absent during Monday night’s meeting.

In other business Monday, the commission:

• Approved changes to its parking and abandoned vehicles ordinances.

• Approved two plats.

• Acknowledged the hiring of a new deputy finance officer.

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(7) comments


I wonder what it will actually cost in the end? We should hire a consulting firm to do a study. Get someone from out of state to take a look at it. Hey Kristi!

Local Resident

Hooray!! That is the most bizarre and irresponsible change order I have ever seen in government. Maybe the bid process should precede the opt out to prevent this type of action in the future.

Don't give the taxpayer a break and pay off the bond early, spend it all. My taxes only went up on 1 property by $200 this year for the pool, not to mention other fees charged by the city. It would have been nice to know that maybe the city could have retired the bond a few years early.

One can only hope that the school opt-out fails as that will lead to another massive increase next year if it passes.

It is certainly easy for government to spend money and show total disregard and irresponsibility with the taxpayers hard earned money. I am appalled and the average taxpayer should be as well. I find it interesting that the wealthy all seem to believe the average taxpayer has bottomless pockets.


The savings of a concrete parking lot of the course of the pools life make this a cost savings. Asphalt becomes soft under intense heat which then allows for cupping. The cups fill during rain and snow events ever so slowly seeping into and under the asphalt causing potholes, cracks and divots which then present a liability for falls. Sod will improve the aesthetic as seeding would not stand up to the influx of people walking across the grass. After a few failed attempts to seed, sod would become necessary which would require additional ground work to re-level before laying the sod.

Local Resident

Teresa: This is a parking lot, not a through fare with fast heavy weight vehicles. Take a trip around town and note the breakup in concrete, also take note of the numerous repairs in that concrete, much of it done with asphalt. Concrete needs repair as well, and if done correctly is more expensive than asphalt repair. In addition to lighter weight vehicles you will also not have the speed that arguably is a factor to breakup as well.

Construction (the building of) has not even commenced and there is a 1/2 million dollar change order. Should the change orders wait until one knows if there will be cost overruns on actual construction? In all construction of this type there are always change orders particularly for the mechanical side of things, and they can be sizeable. I have found that to be true in commercial and most government buildings. The most recent and notable example would be the city's new water plant. the taxpayers do not live in a dream world, they live in reality, because they have to pay for it. Error on the side of caution when it comes to unnecessary change orders.

La Voz

Why would our city ( Ms Leon) especially chose to exhaust the taxpayer with this insane project? We have to have another increase in taxes for our education. Do the people of Yankton not care about education? As long as they can swim?


Local resident I realize it's a parking lot. While not as heavily traveled as the main roads you will have deliveries, buses, RV's and all too often the over sized SUV all of which weigh far more than a sub compact. Yes there will be cost over runs especially when they get to the mechanical side of things (35 years of listening to brother rant over inept design for mechanical layout). Rock climbing walls I won't ever be able to wrap my head around especially due to the slip/fall liability that will then become an issue.

Local Resident

Tereasa: Your argument holds no water. You are grabbing for a paper cup without a bottom. A parking lot that will be used less than 90 days per year. A FEW RV's may park there and I really doubt that you will see heavy delivery trucks there more than once a week and probably less than that on average. Your talking (writing) points are certainly weak at best and are likely coming from someone trying to sell you on the idea, rather than from someone with actual first hand knowledge, once again making the taxpayer a victim of government injustice and unaccountability.

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