Ken Hansen

Ken Hansen

The Fidalgo Pool and Fitness Center commission will have a fresh face once Ken Hansen is sworn in on Jan. 17.

The board picked Hansen Dec. 13 to replace commissioner Mel Larsen, who stepped down due to health reasons. Hansen will finish Larsen’s term until November 2019, with the option to run for election after that.

When pool commissioner Christine Mathes asked why Hansen wanted to be on the pool board, he said his goal was to help the pool find a successful path toward a new facility. The other prospective candidate, Mick Donahue, was not present to be interviewed.

The central issue warranting a new facility is the design of the pool, not the age, Hansen said after the meeting.

“It’s really just the floor plan,” Hansen said.

In May, Hansen attended the third of four informational meetings about the proposed new pool and expressed concerns about maintenance of the new facility, as well as disagreements about the pool’s age being the primary problem.

The Fidalgo Pool was built in 1975, making it about 43 years old, which commissioners have stressed as a major concern. But they have also said there are a number of building code issues to be dealt with, including lack of fire sprinklers and ADA-accessible entrances and locker rooms.

The commissioners and Executive Director Mitch Everton have said that the community has outgrown the facility and needs more aquatic programming than what a single, six-lane pool can provide. Hansen thinks this concern justifies a new pool more than the age, because renovation could easily solve the age issue.

He thinks he can help show the community why a new facility is necessary.

“I’m hoping it will be an easy argument,” Hansen said.

As for running the new facility, he said he is still worried about relying on voter renewal of the maintenance and operation levy. But he thinks that increased use and user fees will cover the costs to run and maintain an over 40,000-square-foot new building vs. the current 19,000-square-foot facility.

“There’s always the fear that the levy could not pass,” Hansen said Dec. 14. “In an ideal world, the visitors would cover all expenses.”

As an avid pool user, Hansen is personally invested in the campaign’s success. He and his wife are a part of the adult masters swim program that practices at the pool, and his daughter swims in the Thunderbird Aquatics Club.

Hansen is currently a facilities coordinator for Skagit County, and a maintenance and property manger at Anna Curtis Property Management, according to his resume. He serves on the Anacortes Historic Preservation board, as well.

He has also been a project manager and coordinator for the Port of Anacortes and served 21 years in the Navy.

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