Mitchell Indoor Aquatic Center on track to reopen in early April, city officials say

While the ongoing repair work that's left the indoor pool facility closed for roughly seven months, Rec Center Director Kevin DeVries said both pools are filled and inching closer to reopening

A pool inside the Indoor Aquatic Center sits empty while crews repair the surfacing in early September. The pools have since been refilled with water and are on track to reopen in April.
Adam Thury / Republic

MITCHELL — After being under construction for repair work since late July, Mitchell’s Indoor Aquatic Center is on track to reopen in early April.

According to Recreation Center Director Kevin DeVries, construction leaders tasked with overseeing the repair work at the pair of indoor pools informed him the pools are on pace to reopen in early April.

Over the past eight months, the multimillion-dollar pool has been a construction site instead of a recreation opportunity like it was built for in 2018. While the ongoing, unforeseen repair work has left city leaders frustrated, DeVries said the latest progress report has him “the most optimistic” he’s been since the plaster surfacing on both pools began deteriorating this past summer.

“Both of the pools are filled, but they have to cure for 30 days. The competition pool is ready to go, but the leisure pool has a little left to cure to hit the 30 days and get construction equipment moved completely out,” DeVries said, noting both have to be fully cured and cleared of construction equipment to reopen.

The 22,635-square-foot facility that sits next to the Recreation Center is well into its fourth year of existence, but structural issues with the pools began arising within less than a year of being opened while still under warranty.


In late October, city leaders were told by construction crews that the pool was on target to reopen by January. However, DeVries said new issues emerged and pushed the reopening date to spring.

“It’s been a challenge. All of this has been out of our control,” DeVries said.

“We paid for a perfectly good pool, and we’re not getting a perfectly good pool. Therefore, the city has no financial duty to pay for this,” Mayor Bob Everson said.

Puetz Build + Design was the contractor tabbed to oversee the construction of the $8 million pool facility in 2018. Puetz selected Acapulco Pools, a Canada-based company, to take on the construction of the leisure and competition pool. MSH Architects also had a hand in the design of the project.

Mark Puetz, CEO of Puetz Build + Design, told the Mitchell Republic in early September that the ongoing repair work that's been done on the pools will be covered by contractors.

The totality of repair work and costs have yet to be determined, city officials said. Regardless of the final costs when the repairs are wrapped up, Mitchell Mayor Bob Everson has emphasized that the city should have “no financial duty” to pay for any of the work.

“We paid for a perfectly good pool, and we’re not getting a perfectly good pool. Therefore, the city has no financial duty to pay for this,” Everson said.

Despite the setbacks that have surfaced over the past seven months, Everson said the estimated April reopening date is “light at the end of the tunnel.”

The extended closure of the Indoor Aquatic Center has taken its toll on frequent users and Mitchell’s swim club, Dakota Riptide. Athletes with the swim club have been without a pool to use for competitions and practice, which forced them to trek to nearest cities with functioning pools like Sioux Falls.


With the estimated April reopening date, the swim club and local pool goers could soon have access to water in Mitchell.

Sam Fosness joined the Mitchell Republic in May 2018. He was raised in Mitchell, S.D., and graduated from Mitchell High School. He continued his education at the University of South Dakota in Vermillion, where he graduated in 2020 with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and a minor in English. During his time in college, Fosness worked as a news and sports reporter for The Volante newspaper.
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