News from the Tennessee Valley State, Local and National news
TUESDAY, JULY 24, 2007

Governor's Mansion pool costs $75,375

MONTGOMERY (AP) — Rebuilding the leaking Alabama-shaped pool at the Governor's Mansion is costing the state $75,375.

Gov. Bob Riley's spokesman, Jeff Emerson, said a new gunite pool was built within the existing Alabama-shaped pool. The old pool had seven leaks and had been losing 4 inches to 6 inches of water a day, Emerson told the Press-Register of Mobile.

"The leak threatened the integrity of some of the other structures at the mansion complex," he said.

After contacting three pool companies, the state selected Cox Pools of the Southeast, a business with offices in Dothan and Orange Beach. A second company quoted a price of $84,000, and the third declined to submit a proposal, Emerson said.

Work started on the $75,375 project in February and was recently completed. Emerson said officials had three options: patch the existing pool temporarily, dig it out and build a new pool, or build a pool within the existing pool.

Emerson said the estimate for patching the holes was $15,000 to $20,000, while tearing out the pool and installing a new one would have cost $100,000 to $150,000. The pool was patched under previous governors, he said.

"We had a choice of either fixing the property so that it is not a problem and does not cost taxpayers more in the long run, or not," he said.

Kathy Johnson, spokeswoman for the state Finance Department, said leaving an empty, leaking pool in the back yard of the Governor's Mansion was not an option because thousands of people visit the mansion each year, and that would reflect poorly on the state.

Tara Hutchison, a Riley spokeswoman, said the governor has used the pool "only a handful of times this year.

However, the pool and the pool area are occasionally used for mansion events."

The new pool retains the shape of Alabama, with swimmers entering through what would be the coastal counties of Mobile and Baldwin, but it is two feet narrower.

Richard Fagan, owner of Fagan Pool Service that helps maintain the pool at the mansion, said he recommended building a pool within the existing pool because it would be more economical in the long run. Fagan said he did not charge the state for consulting on the pool project.

Richard Hamilton, owner of Surf Side Pools in Mobile and Daphne, told the Press-Register that most commercial pools are made of gunite, while less-expensive vinyl is usually used for residential pools.

Hamilton said it would be tough to determine the appropriate cost for the mansion pool because he has not seen it.

The new mansion pool is 26 feet wide at its widest point and 43 feet long, not including the extension for the two coastal counties. Hamilton said a standard rectangular gunite pool, 20 feet by 40 feet, would cost about $39,000.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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