The 5-acre West Bloomfield Family Aquatic Center is now closed, and the facility is slated for demolition.

The 5-acre West Bloomfield Family Aquatic Center is now closed, and the facility is slated for demolition.

File photo by Donna Agusti


WB Parks and Rec Commission moves forward with aquatic center redesign

By: Maddie Forshee | West Bloomfield Beacon | Published November 6, 2017

 Mitchell Rebtoy enjoys the slide at the FAC during a past summer season. The center is currently in the redesign process.

Mitchell Rebtoy enjoys the slide at the FAC during a past summer season. The center is currently in the redesign process.

File photo by Donna Agusti

WEST BLOOMFIELD — The West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation Commission is moving forward with its redesign plans for the Family Aquatic Center in West Bloomfield. 

At a meeting Oct. 26, the commission approved a bid to demolish the current facility. 

Universal Consolidated Enterprises bid $147,075 for the demolition. 

“Eleven companies came to the meeting on Aug. 3,” said Jennifer Tucker, executive director of the West Bloomfield Parks and Recreation Commission. “We received seven bids back from those companies.” 

Parks Superintendent Joe Ketchum said UCE was one of the few companies that stayed for the whole meeting, asked questions, was engaged and even stayed late to speak to officials. 

“(UCE’s) bid of $147,000 is in the ballpark of what I thought it would be,” he said. “They’ve removed pools before. They’ve been in the business for a long time.” 

The demolition will take place after this winter. The redesign of the FAC is still in the design process. 

In June, the Parks and Recreation Commission announced that it will be closing and demolishing the building due to its dated and decaying infrastructure. 

The department doesn’t yet have set plans for the 5-acre property, but initial plans, released in June, include a spray park and a playground.  The new facility should be ready to open in summer 2019. 

The motion to accept UCE’s bid for demolition passed unanimously with the Parks and Recreation Commission. The matter will go before the West Bloomfield Township Board of Trustees Nov. 6.

The commission unanimously approved its budget for 2018. The annual budget includes $2.6 million for the FAC redesign. The budget will come before the Board of Trustees for approval or denial Nov. 6. 

The Parks and Recreation Commission has sought residents’ input on site redevelopment plans. 

Ketchum said previously that the dated facility does not meet the township’s standards.

“Really, the commission would like to give residents the best. This is West Bloomfield — a great community — and we’re looking for opportunities to improve our facility that will attract families to continue to live here and actually come to West Bloomfield,” he said.

Ketchum said previously that thousands of dollars were wasted at the FAC on “a consistent basis.”

“We didn’t feel that … was a prudent avenue to continue putting our money,” he said. “We’ve been losing pretty much every year that we’ve run that facility. Last year, we lost $280,000 when you take away the revenue and expenses.”

He added that the facility is an “energy hog” that costs over $60,000 annually for utilities alone.

He said in July that the FAC needs a lot of infrastructure repairs, estimated to cost $1.2 million, and if those repairs were done, the township would wind up “with pretty much the same facility,” with no new features.

Ketchum said the building was not originally designed for its current use. It was a neighborhood swim club that the city bought about 20 years ago.

The facility recently closed and will reopen to the public in summer 2019. The facility hosted swim and fitness classes, and it has an indoor pool and outdoor pools with splash features, a whirlpool and a slide. The FAC also has a meeting/banquet room and a dance/aerobics studio.

Staff Writer Sherri Kolade contributed to this report.