WINCHESTER — Water will be back in the Umpqua Community College swimming pool by the end of April, in time for swim classes to begin in May.
A handful of workers were poolside Wednesday afternoon digging a trench, welding stainless steel gutters and preparing to install lights.
The pool was closed and drained three years ago because its liner had begun to pull away from the sides. The college’s trustees voted in 2012 to replace the pool, but that plan was scrapped as too expensive. Last year, they decided to repair the pool instead. The liner will be replaced after the plumbing underneath is upgraded.
Physical Education Department Chairwoman Cheryl Yoder said she looks forward to the pool reopening.
“We’re all very excited. It’s been three years empty, and it’s been really ugly looking at that pool out the windows of our offices,” she said. “We just can’t wait.”
Yoder said UCC offered swim classes at the YMCA in Roseburg for two years, but canceled them last year because too few students attended.
UCC’s facilities director, Jess Miller, said that since the liner was being replaced, it made sense to update the plumbing as well.
“I didn’t want to just go in and replace a liner in the pool on a hope and a prayer that the pipes were going to last,” he said.
The renovations will include scouring aluminum pipes with granulated walnuts and lining them with a quarter-inch layer of epoxy resin to block corrosion.
The repairs began in December and are expected to be completed the third week of April, on time and under budget at $385,000, Miller said. Repairs were expected to cost about $500,000.
Miller said some of the surplus will be used to replace plastic covering the pool’s wooden bleachers. The deck will be replaced and fountains will stream 8-foot jets of water from the deck toward the pool, he said.
Repairs were chosen over a more ambitious $1.7 million plan recommended by an advisory committee in 2012. The recommendation included a new energy-efficient pool with a retractable cover, a wading pool and nearby tennis courts.
Miller said crews from Indiana contractor RenoSys Corp. will begin placing the PVC membrane pool liner March 24 after the plumbing repairs are done. He said the Indiana company was chosen because no local contractors had experience with the type of lining being installed.
He said the renovations are as good as having a “brand-new” pool. “I don’t think we would have been any farther ahead with a new pool,” he said.
Yoder said people who want to sign up for spring swim classes can call 541-440-7717.
• You can reach reporter Carisa Cegavske at 541-957-4213 or email@example.com.