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April 07, 2011 7:25 am

Aquatic center reopening delayed

Written by Tessa Schweigert

Swimmers awaiting the reopening of the Powell Aquatic Center must wait a while longer.

The pool closed last month for work to repair areas where the surface material was peeling and for annual maintenance. The facility was scheduled to reopen Sunday, April 10, but the work will take longer than originally planned, city leaders said Monday.

“It’s coming along fine, but it won’t open for at least an additional week, maybe two weeks,” said City Administrator Zane Logan at Monday night’s Powell City Council meeting.

“The reason we are a little up in the air as to the exact time frame is that it is up to the contractor to complete the work and release it to the city,” and city employees will fill the pools when they are ready, said Gary Butts, public services manager.

“We don’t like the delay either, but we certainly want to get it right,” Logan added.

Soon after the aquatic center was constructed and opened to swimmers last spring, city staff noticed areas where the pool surface was flaking off — sometimes in little chips, sometimes in large pieces.

City leaders and the project engineer, Dave Burbach, have said the flaw was an aesthetic issue and not a structural problem.

To address the surface problems, crews sandblasted the entire eight-lane lap pool and the areas in the recreation pool that were peeling. Epoxy will be applied to fill in any holes, and then the concrete will be repainted. The paint must cure for seven days before the vessels can be refilled with water.

“In order to make sure everything is done to the best possible detail, it will take one to two more weeks,” said Butts.

It was not the paint itself that peeled off, but rather, a finish that was applied to the concrete and then painted. The finish that caused the problems — a cement-like material — will not be reapplied to the pools’ surface, Butts said.

Areas of the pools where the cementitious material was removed will now be just concrete and paint — without the finish material — so the surface may feel different on swimmers’ feet. Whether it’s a noticeable difference or a slight one has yet to be told.

“Our hope is that it will be very slight,” Butts said.

Butts noted that the pool floor itself, although repainted, will not feel different — just the walls, as they were coated with the cementitious material that was removed. Most surface repairs are wall areas — other than a few floor spots in the recreation pool.

Because the city has not signed off on the facility yet, the city of Powell is not responsible for costs for the surface repairs, Logan said.

During the closure, the aquatic center’s part-time staff have been temporarily laid off and are waiting to come back, Butts said. The center’s three full-time staff members and another city employee who cleans the aquatic center and Homesteader rest area are staying busy with maintenance and other responsibilities, he said.

The closure for the resurfacing coincided with the facility’s annual maintenance, and Butts said “everything is progressing very well” with the maintenance work.

Also during the closure, crews installed a UV disinfectant system, which costs about $70,000 and is being paid for with overages from the 1-cent sales tax.

With the new disinfectant system, there is a chamber installed in the piping system of the mechanical room, and inside that chamber, ultraviolet light will be blasted through the water, breaking down organics and killing microorganisms, such as giardia, Parmer wrote in a letter to pool users.

“Utilizing UV disinfection will reduce the amount of chlorine used in our pools, and the ‘pool smell’ will be reduced,” Parmer wrote. “Chromamines in the water will be reduced, which will create a more pleasant experience for individuals.”

Burbach will visit Powell to inspect the aquatic center on April 20, Butts said.

Updates about the reopening date will be reported in the Tribune. For more information, call the aquatic center at 754-0639.

1 Comment

  • Comment Link April 08, 2011 6:56 am posted by clipstein

    Nice to know the city or we are responsible for the surface...... Wow does that leave us responsible for everyting that is underneath the surface???? Hey josh where are you??? I need your help to figure out how this was such a good deal for Powell????

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