Pool nears 500 members

Posted 7/29/10

When city leaders planned the pool's first-year operating budget, they conservatively estimated 425 memberships. In three months since opening, the number of memberships has already exceeded that estimate by 50.

Based on the projection of 425 …

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Pool nears 500 members


Peeling surface in aquatic center to be addressedIn the three months since swimmers first dove in, the Powell Aquatic Center (PAC) has registered 478 members and sold more than 6,000 daily youth passes.“It's been great,” said Carrie Parmer, city aquatics director. “There's just a plethora of activity here, and I think people are really starting to explore it and see what's offered.”

When city leaders planned the pool's first-year operating budget, they conservatively estimated 425 memberships. In three months since opening, the number of memberships has already exceeded that estimate by 50.

Based on the projection of 425 memberships, the city estimated revenue of $110,375 from admission fees in its 2010-11 budget. Looking at early numbers, it's likely that admission revenue will exceed original projections.

The $10.3 million facility opened in May when it was considered substantially complete. Even though the center's two pools are open to swimmers, construction crews are still finishing work at the site.

It will be several months before the pool is considered officially completed and the city signs off on final documents, said David Burbach, the project engineer with Burbach Aquatics.

“This is going very smoothly,” Burbach said. “There are steps to go through before the final sign-off, and attention to detail is important during construction.”

Over the next few months, crews will be completing a final punch list, making sure everything is to the contract's specifications. One noticeable item that must be fixed is material that's peeling off underwater along the pools' floor and walls.

Burbach said waterproofing material that is underneath the layer of paint is not adhering to the concrete, causing the surface to bubble up and peel off in certain areas of the deep pool and recreation pool.

The electrical charge of the concrete appears to be incompatible with the charge of the waterproofing material, preventing it from bonding or adhering, Burbach said.

The material that is being repelled from the concrete is smooth on the back, indicating that it never adhered to the concrete.

While it's a rather rare occurrence in swimming pools, “I've seen it a number of times in the past,” Burbach said.

Burbach said the peeling surface in no way indicates a deeper problem with the structure, as some residents have worried.

“Their worries can be relaxed,” he said. “It does not mean that there's a structural problem with the pool.”

To address the peeling material, crews will apply a temporary epoxy to the affected underwater areas. In March, when the pool is completely drained for routine maintenance, the temporary material will be removed and Burbach will determine how best to fix the problem. If it is indeed a problem with conflicting charges, as Burbach believes, an epoxy or paint that will adhere to the concrete will be applied, he said.

Other issues, such as a panel of siding where the coating bubbled, also will be fixed, Burbach said.

“There's a lot of things that come up with a new facility that no one anticipates,” Parmer said. “We are doing our best to address them as quickly as possible.”

“When you step back and look at the size of the project, the issues are small,” Burbach said.

He added that Sletten Construction, the general contractor, and subcontractors are diligent in completing the final punch list.

“Sletten is stepping up to the plate,” he said.

Parmer said swimmers are understanding of the ongoing completion projects, and said construction crews have worked around the pool's schedule.

“They're all very accommodating,” she said. “One crew works through the night. And the swimmers are understanding as well. I think everyone's proud of the facility and wants to see it done 100 percent.”

Burbach said that during his walk-through of the facility last week, he was pleased with the pool's water quality, recently-completed parking lot, overall structure and operations.

“I'm just very happy,” he said. “The staff knows what they're doing, and things were under control. It's a very professional environment.”

Parmer said the center employs 30 people, but she will lose eight staff members when college starts.

“Our staff has been phenomenal,” she said. “They're constantly learning, constantly growing.”

A life-guarding class will take place the second week in August to train replacements, she said. For more information on the 33-hour training course, contact the aquatic center at 754-0639.

Staff members are preparing for a back-to-school bash on Saturday, Aug. 21, and the first competitive Powell High School swim meet on Aug. 28. During swim meets, the pool will be closed to public swimming, Parmer said.

A fall schedule with upcoming swim classes and lessons will be released soon, Parmer said.