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Medford council approves $3M design deal for sports complex

A $3 million contract to design a $60 million aquatics complex and event center at Wes Howard Memorial Park in west Medford got the green light from City Council Thursday night.

Colorado-based Perkins and Will, which has designed similar complexes, received the contract to design and engineer the Rogue Credit Union Community Complex, a massive sports center with two indoor pools and other features.

“The architect came in lower than we thought it would be,” said council President Kevin Stine.

Six councilors voted for the contract, with Councilor Kay Brooks voting against it and Councilor Dick Gordon abstaining.

The bid is 22% below city estimates in 2019.

About $1 million of the contract will go to local firms that will help with design and engineering.

Stine said there are a number of reasons why the sports complex will benefit Medford.

“For me, it’s about the people who live in Medford and the Rogue Valley,” he said. “The events center will be a draw for tourism as well.”

The complex is expected to be a regional attraction, much like U.S. Cellular Community Park in south Medford.

Fifteen companies submitted bids, and three made it to the final stage of the selection process.

Perkins and Will’s bid of $3,037,265 was lower than bids from ORW Architecture and OPSI at $3,215,770, and ELS Architecture at $3,333,435.

City officials have estimated it would cost from $56.9 million to $60.7 million to build the project, which could open in 2023.

The proposal calls for a recreational pool that would have a shallow entry for young children as well as an artificial river and a vortex. On one side would be a three-lane, 25-yard lap pool. Nearby would be two tubular slides, one 164 feet long, the other 176 feet long, and an outdoor splash pad similar in size to the one at Hawthorne Park.

To attract regional swim meets, water polo competitions and other events, a 13-lane competition pool would be built inside an adjacent building. Lockers and other facilities would be constructed next to the pools, and a food truck court would be installed next to the building.

The buildings would have roll-up doors that could be opened during fair weather.

City officials want to build new pools to replace the 1960s-era Jackson Pool and the former Hawthorne Park pool, which was closed in 2010 and then demolished. Parks maintenance workers continue to keep Jackson Pool operational despite its age.

The sports and events center would be inside an 89,559-square-foot building. The pools would be housed in separate buildings.

The bond would be paid off through a variety of revenue sources.

An early payoff off another bond for U.S. Cellular Community Park will free up enough to cover 44% of the financing toward the sports complex.

A $2.40 increase to the parks utility fee would bring 31% of the project revenue.

The lodging tax will pay an estimated 21% of the bond.

The remaining 4% would come from expanding car rental fees throughout the city instead of just at the Medford airport.

Reach reporter Damian Mann at 541-776-4476 or dmann@rosebudmedia.com. Follow him on Twitter @reporterdm.

The existing design concept for the new aquatics and sports complex in Medford. (Image: City of Medford website)