Everyone at Lacy Construction is looking forward to May. That’s when one of our projects currently under construction—the Wood River Municipal Swimming Pool—will open to a crowd of eager children and parents.

The Wood River Pool is an exciting new amenity that is owned and operated by the City of Wood River, Nebraska.

Known for its friendly small-town ambiance, Wood River has city leaders who work hard to provide big-time amenities like an excellent school system, impressive downtown library, and soon a $5.6 million recreational pool with many special features.

The heated pool will offer a raft water slide, a lazy river feature, a splash pad, two diving boards, including a three-meter board at the deep end, and a crawl-across feature. The pool also has a zero-depth entry area for toddlers, as well as swimming lanes for competition by teens in the summer. A vortex inside the lazy river will keep rafts moving—in fact, it’s the first one in Nebraska. Across from the zero-entry area, an ADA lift will assist handicapped persons into the swim area of the pool. Plans call for shaded canopy areas surrounding the pool, where parents can keep tabs on children and where families can enjoy cold drinks, ice cream, and other treats from the snack bar.

Wood River citizens will be able to take advantage of the facility’s plans to offer swim lessons and the option to rent the pool for birthday parties and other summer celebrations.


Lacy Construction’s buildout of the 8,777-square-foot, 290,000-gallon municipal pool includes features designed to enhance safety and attractiveness. For instance, numerous trench drains throughout the pool deck will remove splashed water quickly to reduce slips and falls. The masonry pool house features a rustic wood timber truss exterior seating area. A wood-framed mechanical building will house the facility’s tools and pool equipment.

This project required a longer timeframe than many more basic construction projects. Preliminary work began in September of 2016, and plans call for the Wood River Pool to open in late May.

To outside observers, a pool is a big concrete box filled with water. What could be so difficult? For starters, the amenities—features like specialty diving boards, water slides, and a vortex—all add complexity. But often, site challenges necessitate careful consideration and require creative solutions.

We worked with David Burbach of Burbach Aquatics, Inc., which provided architecturally and engineering services for Wood River. The firm’s 38+ years of experience in the design and engineering of aquatic and recreational facilities for municipal governments was indispensable.

Lacy Construction’s Wood River Project Manager Steve Grubbs and Project Superintendent Jared Tweten handled a series of site challenges, including the need to excavate an enormous amount of materials from the job site—where there was little room for its storage. That was handled by hauling excavated material off-site and hauling it back as needed.

Steve and Jared also installed geotextile fabric to keep soil layers from becoming contaminated with topsoil during the construction of the pool. This required fine-tuned timing: digging sections of the pool in phases, then quickly installing the fabric, and meticulously monitoring for any contaminants after each rain.

Special kudos go to both Jared and Steve. Jared stepped up to his supervisory role several months into the project after the original project superintendent experienced a health issue. Steve quickly brought him up to speed with the project. The transitions went smoothly due to their experience and diligence, aided by constant communication between Lacy Construction, the subcontractors, the owner, and the design team.

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The irony of constructing a swimming pool during a brutal Nebraska winter is not lost on us, either! This winter season threw blizzards and many sub-zero temperature days at us. We have even had to tent and heat areas for the masonry team to work on the bathhouse. The Lacy team has also worked several weekends to make up for time lost due to those unbearable frigid days.

Innovative equipment and techniques were implemented too. Our vibratory pile driver—used to drive pilings for a few of the deep excavations—increased safety for our men as well as efficiency. The equipment allows the jaws to remain tightly closed in case of a broken line. The material stays locked in the clamping device, eliminating the risk of accidents. It also kept banks from collapsing which could undermine adjacent structures.

Another technique our team employed was to fill the pool vessel with water while we backfilled the walls — that maneuver helped equalize the pressure on both sides of the wall. The benefit? It reduced stress on the walls which prevented potential cracking.

The Wood River Municipal Pool project has been exciting, challenging, instructive, and enjoyable (despite the cold weather!). At Lacy Construction, we believe in the value of exceptional teams. In this case, the team: the owner, the architect/engineer, the suppliers, and the Lacy Team—all performed seamlessly.

Soon the sun will shine and the pool will be open. Our office in Grand Island is only 20 minutes from Wood River, so we’re planning to visit in July. We’ll be the tall kids in flip flops and floaties.