Medford officials are hopeful they won't have to tap into the full $14.5 million that voters are being asked to approve Nov. 6 to build two new public pools.

Medford officials are hopeful they won't have to tap into the full $14.5 million that voters are being asked to approve Nov. 6 to build two new public pools.

"If you don't need the whole $14.5 million, why borrow the whole thing?" said Brian Sjothun, director of Medford Parks and Recreation.

Sjothun said if the bond is approved, the city would work with a single contractor on the two projects to help bring down the costs, particularly for administration and overhead.

The figure listed in Measure 15-115 is the upper ceiling on the cost of the projects, based on estimates provided by Adroit Construction Co. of Ashland, Ogden Roemer Wilkerson Architecture of Medford and Counsilman-Hunsaker Aquatics Group of St. Louis, Mo.

The measure would cost voters 15 cents for every $1,000 of assessed value. The owner of a house with an assessed value of $207,000, for example, would pay an additional $31.05 in property taxes annually.

A park fee also would be tacked onto utility bills, adding 73 cents a month ($8.76 a year) to pay the costs of operating and maintaining the pools. Costs to use the pool would rise, from $3 for adults to $4 or $5, and from $1 for children to $2 or $3. Nonresidents would pay a surcharge of about 20 percent more.

Amy Stainbrook, a 36-year-old mother of two children, said she likes the idea of larger and better pool facilities, but still has some reservations about the city's proposal.

"I don't like Hawthorne so much because I worry about bringing my children there," she said. "The homeless community brings in a certain type of people."

Stainbrook said she didn't realize that Hawthorne would have an indoor pool, or that the city is working on a plan to make the park more family-friendly.

"I like the indoor idea," she said.

Both pools together would have 19,693 square feet of pool space compared to 10,350 feet in the existing pools — a 90 percent increase.

Jackson Park Pool would see a 38 percent increase in water area, from 4,350 square feet to 6,000. The new pool would include a large, semi-circular design with a play feature in the center, umbrellas and a larger seating area. The existing bathrooms and locker area, the source of many parental complaints, would be torn out and replaced with new facilities.

Because most activity at the Jackson pool takes place in the shallow end, the new pool would be mostly 3.5 feet deep or shallower.

Hawthorne, which would feature a 50-meter pool, would get 128 percent more pool space, increasing from 6,000 to 13,693 square feet.

The existing Hawthorne pool was closed in March 2011 after city officials discovered it was leaking 30,000 gallons a day.

Craig Harris, a 51-year-old father of seven, said he's taken all his children to the pools, including his grandchild whom he was picking up at Jackson Elementary Tuesday.

He's particularly excited about the year-round pool at Hawthorne because it will provide an activity for children in the winter, he said.

Harris, who has brought swim groups to the pools, said he doesn't object to paying more property taxes. However, he wants to make sure Medford properly manages and maintains the new swimming facilities after they're built.

Kevin Spohn, who owns a house a few blocks from Jackson Elementary, said he doesn't mind paying extra property taxes for something that will help families throughout Medford.

"It would all go for a good cause — not for frivolous spending," said Spohn, a 32-year-old father of three.

His 6-year-old daughter, Callie, said she likes the water slide, while his 8-year-old son, Liam, prefers the diving board.

Spohn said the pool is enjoyed by the whole family.

"We spend five days a week there in summer when the temperature hits 100 degrees," he said.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or email