Kalkaska to Explore Kaliseum Pool Renovation Options | News

KALKASKA — The Kalkaska County Board of Commissioners has voted to continue exploring options for renovating the pool at the Kaliseum, which has stood empty for the past few years due to safety concerns.

At a special meeting on Wednesday, the Kalkaska Board of Commissioners voted 6-1 to continue to explore possibilities, including financial and political, to repair the Kaliseum pool, which may include adding a partial second floor to this space. Commissioner Truman Bicum was the only one to vote “no”.

The Kaliseum’s swimming pool has remained closed for the past few years after a rusty nut and bolt fell from the ceiling, as the Record-Eagle previously reported. Mechanical issues regarding the lack of adequate separation between the air and ventilation systems between the cold and warm areas of the building led to structural damage, including a rusting billiard room ceiling, consultants reported in 2019.

The special meeting also included a presentation from Laura Zingg, Vice President of Marketing and Outreach for Kalkaska Memorial Health Center, Vice President of Ambulatory Services Daniel Conklin and CEO Kevin Rogols. KMHC representatives discussed how the hospital and the county could partner to renovate the Kaliseum and how the hospital could potentially use some spaces in the Kaliseum.

Before the pandemic, commissioners, Kaliseum officials and KMHC representatives began discussing how a partnership might work. When the pandemic hit, talks about this partnership were put on hold until fall 2021.

The potential for a partnership is still in its infancy and Wednesday’s county vote did not include any promise to work with KMHC.

The hospital’s interest is based on how working with the Kaliseum fits into its strategic plan, mission and vision, Rogols and Zingg said. Rogols pointed out that KMHC is broadly interested in offering resources to strengthen the services and capacities of the Kaliseum in order to make it a multi-generational health facility that improves the health and well-being of current residents and draws people into the county.

“It could bring a community element to Kalkaska County that would significantly help the county grow,” Rogols said. “It’s exponentially bigger than a marijuana store…It’s something people will come and move to Kalkaska for.”

The hospital does not want to take away any services from Kaliseum regulars, Zingg said.

Conklin presented an engineering report with the costs of the conceptual ideas for the renovation of the Kaliseum. He also discussed KMHC services that could be transferred to the Kaliseum, if that is the direction of the partnership, such as the hospital’s rehabilitation center or youth behavioral health programs.

KMHC’s renovation suggestions included a half-second floor in the pool area, opening up tens of thousands of square feet of space, a competition pool, a runners’ track, and designated areas for youth and adults. the elderly.

Conklin said KMHC’s vision for the building’s renovations would create a versatile, blank canvas not designed specifically for hospital wards.

KMHC does not yet have business plans for its proposed projects, but Rogols said they could send such business plans to the county in three to six months. From there, county commissioners and hospital representatives would determine whether the plans were financially viable.

Previously, the board had agreed that the pool should be turned into a flat gym space and not remain a pool in the state it is in now, Commissioner Katina Banko said.

“Hospital or no hospital, we have a building that belongs to the county that is deemed unsafe and that we need to tackle,” Banko said.

Commissioner Bob Baldwin said he did not have enough information to say whether or not he agreed with all of KMHC’s proposals for how the space could be used, but he is interested in fix the Kaliseum and not make it a burden on taxpayers.

Commissioner David Comai said he was also interested in seeing more plans from KMHC and how their resources could benefit the Kaliseum.

“Kalkaska County can’t put in it what the hospital can put in it,” Comai said.

KMHC’s proposal is “the best opportunity…for the Kaliseum in a long time,” Banko said.

“It looks like we couldn’t do anything but limp, limp, limp,” Banko said. “We don’t do major repairs. We are bandaging because we have no money.

The board agreed to focus on what to do with the pool before making any decisions about partnering with KMHC.

Public comments at the meeting included a speech about the inherent value of the Kaliseum because of what it offers the community and interest in how the KMHC plans would open up more designated space for the community of elders.

A member of the public has expressed concern that the KMHC is taking full control of the Kaliseum and obstructing community access to the facility.

The board still doesn’t know the full scope of KMHC’s ideas for the space and hasn’t yet developed solid plans for the partnership, Banko said.

“We’ve been very clear: it’s still the taxpayers’ building,” Banko said.

There is also a longer process that the board must go through, which includes taking bids, before the board makes a decision on this type of partnership.

“There’s a long way to go,” Baldwin said.

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