Hundreds of swimmers, including high school student athletes, will have to go elsewhere to train for about four months as San Luis Obispo’s Sinsheimer pool closes for repairs next month.
City staff said the worn, rough plaster on the Olympic-sized pool, which is about 17 years old, needs to be replaced for health and safety reasons.
In addition, the pool will be retiled and get new underwater lights and an upgraded drain system.
While a lengthy project will disrupt normal activities at the pool, the work is necessary to prevent an emergency shutdown if the 17-year-old plaster — which provides a protective layer between the water and reinforced concrete structure — failed or led to bacterial contamination, according to a staff report by engineer Manny Guzman.
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The San Luis Obispo City Council on Tuesday was set to consider awarding a contract to Condor Inc., a swimming pool contractor based in El Monte, for $487,460. The project is scheduled to start Sept. 7.
The city had budgeted $443,000 for the work, but two bids for the work came back higher than anticipated. The additional $51,000 would be covered with funds budgeted for the construction management phase of the project, according to a staff report.
The pool holds about 600,000 gallons of water. One of the first steps once work begins will be to drain that water into the city’s sanitary sewer, where it will be treated and reused as recycled water.
In a staff report, Guzman wrote that the bigger water user at the facility is not the pool, but the showers.
The city is expected to save more than 1.5 million gallons of water during the temporary closure of the main pool thanks to reduced shower use and some normal loss of pool water — for a net savings of about 900,000 gallons.
The smaller 25,000-gallon therapy pool, also located in the SLO Swim Center off Southwood Drive, will reopen Sept. 21 after regular annual maintenance and cleaning. It will not be drained for that work and will offer space for aqua aerobics, private swim lessons and warm water exercise classes.
About 83,000 people use the Swim Center annually, recreation supervisor Devin Hyfield said. During a 2013 closure to replace the boiler system, about 2,100 people a month continued to use the therapy pool, he said.
But many regular users — including Mission College Prep and San Luis Obispo High students, the San Luis Obispo Seahawks swim club and lap swimmers — will be impacted.
Some have made arrangements with other pool facilities, including Cal Poly and Cuesta College, while the pool is under construction.
Cuesta College has also added an afternoon lap swim time to accommodate displaced swimmers, according to San Luis Obispo parks and recreation staff.
Cal Poly graduates and employees may use the university’s facilities. Kennedy Club Fitness has a 50-meter pool, but a monthly membership is required to use it.
Unfortunately, neither Cal Poly nor Cuesta College could accommodate the boys’ varsity, junior varsity and novice teams’ 2 to 5 p.m. practice, a parent of a San Luis Obispo High water polo player said.
Normally, all San Luis Obispo High athletes practice during fifth period, with the workout continuing for a few hours. Kathie Walker said the team will probably practice at Cuesta from 6 to 8 p.m. — time they would normally use to complete homework.
“If we had a pool, none of this would be an issue,” Walker said.
San Luis Obispo High will eventually have a pool, funded with Measure D money, but that project is still a two to three years away.
“It’s problematic,” San Luis High Principal Leslie O’Connor said. “We appreciate the fact that Cuesta has been willing to work with us. We are working to provide transportation to our students to Cuesta.”
Later this year, the girls’ water polo team will face the same problem when their season starts, as the Sinsheimer pool project won’t wrap up until January.
For more information on the closure, go to http://www.slocity.org/government/department-directory/parks-and-recreation/slo-swim-center.