Pool reopening postponed pending improvements

For the first time since its November 2022 closure, the pool is full of water again and lifeguards are being trained to protect swimmers. However, though the facility is showing signs of life, don’t grab your floaties and strap on your goggles just yet — Parks and Recreation staff have identified a few technical issues that need to be addressed before reopening.

These changes have pushed the tentative reopen date past its previous mid-July mark.

At the moment, Parks and Recreation staff have to manually adjust the facility’s heat and ventilation systems —a process that won’t be practical once large volumes of people start using the pool.

“We’re waiting on our system controls to be able to speak with our heat and ventilation system,” explained Parks and Recreation Director Lucy Robinson. “That’s going to take a contractor … to hit the island and work toward ensuring that system is up-to-date and functions properly.”

Repairing the pool has been a monthlong process of identifying new issues and addressing them as they arise —the facility’s most recent needs are no different.

If the temperature regulation and ventilation systems aren’t improved, the building’s interior could overheat or too much moisture could accumulate inside. “We want our ventilation system and our heating system to operate on its own and function on its own versus constantly having to modify the heat,” said Robinson.

As of last week, a definite timeline for these upgrades was not available from Capital Facilities Director Amber Al-Haddad.

“I was dreaming it was going to be mid-July,” Robinson said of the pool’s official public opening, “but I don’t think that’s going to be the case.”

When the pool finally does reopen, Robinson hopes that it can stay open for as long as possible, without any additional or unexpected closures. The upgrades are a preventative measure. “We’re just ensuring that … when we roll into reopening, we’re top notch and we’re moving forward in the right direction with upgraded systems that speak to each other and operate in full function,” she said. Opening without these changes might mean shutting down again shortly thereafter.

Small groups of lifeguard trainees are already using the pool, but the ventilation system can’t handle much more.

“State code requires us to have showers available, because people have to technically shower fully before they get into the water,” Robinson said. “In order to maintain our water chemistry, we have to offer those showers. And so, if we’ve got 50 people cruising into the showers, it just impacts our system.” She has instructed the current lifeguard trainees to shower at home; only about two or three gym-goers use the showers per day, which is a manageable amount for the ventilation system.

But before it can open to the public, the pool will need to be able to handle a far higher volume of swimmers than it is currently able to.

 

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