New pool construction to begin in four weeks

Whether March comes in like a lion or a lamb won’t make a difference as far as the $11.3-million-pool renovation project is concerned.

Whether March comes in like a lion or a lamb won’t make a difference as far as the $11.3-million-pool renovation project is concerned.

“The construction process starts on March 1 give or take a day,” said Geoff Paynton, the city’s director of community services. “It’s coming really quickly.”

Paynton said the existing pool will not be closed during renovations.

Additionally, the workout area will be moved temporarily into what is now the waiting area outside the pool.

“We are phasing the entire project so that the pool and exercise room can remain open,” Paynton said, but noted the hot tub, wading pool and sauna will have to be closed.

As March unfolds the public can expect to begin to see six-foot-high fencing going up, which will take over some of the existing parking.

“Having less parking will impact events like the Indoor Rodeo but we have to be safe,” Paynton said.

There will also be trailers with equipment arriving and a temporary wall will go up inside the pool hiding the area that is now the workout gym, sauna, whirlpool and wading pool.

Then at the end of March demolition of the areas behind the inside wall will begin, making room for the new pool.

In the new pool there will be a climbing wall and a rope swing, while the leisure pool, which will be built during the second phase of the project, will have a lazy river and a waterslide.

In the design there is an emphasis on accessibility and the new hot tub will be raised so that people can sit on the side and swing their legs around to get in.

“The entire facility is being designed to be more usable for people in general,” Paynton said. There will be accessible ramps, handrails and lifts.

A new fitness centre on the second floor will be three times the size of the existing one and will include areas that can be curtained off for exercise classes such as the TRX classes offered inside the arena now.

Early into the project planning it was decided to go with a construction manager and from there 32 subcontracts will be tendered throughout the project.

So far seven bids for the electrical  — five from local companies — were submitted and two local bids for the mechanical.

The entire facility will have light-emitting diode (LED) lighting, including be red, blue and green lights making it possible to change the colour of the water.

It’s hard for Paynton to hide his enthusiasm in seeing the 35-year-old pool replaced.

“We’re going to be rocking and rolling here pretty quick,” he said. “It’s been six or seven years of planning and now here we go.”

It is expected to take one year for phase one and six months for phase two, he added.