Five things to know about shutdown
By Scott Bellile
The New London Aquatic and Fitness Center will close next week for a $1 million mechanical system upgrade. Here is a rundown on what patrons need to know.
1. How long will the pool be closed? The final day to swim is this Saturday, March 10, according to Lori Gorges, aquatic and fitness center manager. Then contractors will get to work on Monday, March 12.
New London Public Services Director Chad Hoerth said the project is scheduled to wrap up in early June, but if all goes well, perhaps the pool could open its doors in late May.
2. What’s the point of the project? “The [mechanical] systems are old; they’re tired,” Hoerth said. “Many of the systems are original with the pool being built. The structure itself is really in decent shape. The mechanical systems right now are what’s hurting us and failing.”
Hoerth said crews will change out the HVAC system, ductwork, boilers, pool filtration system and chemical system. Lighting will be updated along with some of the glass windows. New wall heaters will make the locker rooms warmer, especially the women’s, which Hoerth said has been chilly for some time.
3. What will the public notice? “You’re not going to be able to see it, but you’ll be able to feel the difference and smell the difference,” Gorges said.
Besides the warmer locker rooms, here are a few changes people may notice:
• One, automated pool blankets will be installed, which Hoerth said will help to keep the heat in the pool overnight and water temperatures more comfortable for swimmers.
“[With] the pool covers themselves, I’m anticipating we’re going to see a noticeable energy savings,” Hoerth said.
• Two, UV light will be added to the pool filtration system to strengthen the pool’s disinfecting process and improve air quality. UV is an instant killer of the cryptosporidium parasite which causes diarrhea. The UV should also reduce the chloramines that give off that strong chlorine smell.
• Three, crews will permanently remove one of the waterslides, the straight blue one, to make way for a new pool filtration system, Hoerth said.
“It was either A, remove one of the slides, or B, increase the costs dramatically to bust open this wall in the side of the pool filter room and then install this upgraded filtration system. And the slides are kind of in rough shape right now anyway,” Hoerth said.
The curved tan waterslide will stay for now, but at a later time the city will consider replacing it with a “better slide,” Hoerth said.
4. What will happen to my pool membership? Memberships will be put on hold during the pool closure and resume on reopening day. A summer membership special will be available for people who join or renew during the summertime, Gorges said.
5. Where else can I exercise while the pool is closed? The school districts of Clintonville and Iola offer public swimming pools. And Gorges said the Fox West YMCA in Greenville is waiving its membership requirements so swimmers can use its facilities on a daily basis.
For those who don’t swim but want to work out, local gyms that are part of the New London Area Chamber of Commerce include Academy Kickboxing, Anytime Fitness, Curves of New London, Fire Fitness Camp and New London Total Fitness 24-7.
The Washington Center gymnasium also offers free hours for walking on weekdays from 5:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., according to Michelle Lambrecht, New London Parks and Recreation administrative assistant. Recreational open gym time is available Fridays from 3:45 to 7:45 p.m. and Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. for $4.