Archive for Thursday, July 6, 2006

Failing through the cracks

Eudora municipal pool serves despite three decades worth of wear, tear

July 6, 2006

Paint can only cover so much.

Before opening in May, city workers slathered the Eudora Municipal Pool's interior with a coat of white paint to spruce it up for the 2006 swim season.

Although the new paint job improved the pool's overall appearance, employees continue to wrestle with a laundry list of structural and maintenance problems.

Despite the struggles, Eudora Parks and Recreation Director Bobby Arnold said, the 30-year-old pool still has an upside, of sorts.

"It functions. Really, that might be the only thing now," Arnold said.

Although the building shows its apparent age with cracked concrete and worn machinery, it still serves the community, Arnold said.

"But other than that, there's not a lot of upside to it," Arnold said.

By next year, the crumbling structure could be replaced with a brand new $3.8 million pool and recreation center complex. The new pool would maintain the current pool's dimensions, but offer a zero depth entry point and a $150,000 water slide. The recreation center ---- which would be the city's first ---- would offer the community a meeting space, lobby and regulation-size basketball courts.

The entire project will be put to voters as part of an Aug. 1 bond referendum.

While the vision of a new building might seem far off to city employees, the maintenance of the current pool continues to be a "headache," Arnold said.

Open wires, widespread corrosion and issues with the filtration and pump systems fill the main pool house. The problems force recreation employees to make almost daily trips to fix whatever the latest issue might be.

The majority of the issues facing the pool are outside of the public eye.

"We painted over the bathrooms," Arnold said. "If all the paint goes away, then you'd see some more corrosion and rust. We tried to doctor it up as many times as we could and keep it safe."

In addition to the pool's aging equipment and electrical problems, Arnold was forced to admit the structure isn't fully accessible according to the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"The pool is not ADA compliant in any way, shape or form. It's just a rundown space," Arnold said.

The pool's concession area is also lacking, concession manager Kyle Chriss said.

Because outlets inside the concession area can't support a refrigerator, Chriss has seen boxes of candy go bad because of the heat.

The concession area's problems aren't limited to faulty wiring, bad ventilation and a hole in the ceiling ---- suppliers must go through the entire building just to bring food inside.

While Arnold works with the pool, which is lacking in space, he's also working with the school district because the city is lacking in space.

"The school district has been very good about letting me use (space), except for a few things," Arnold said.

The city uses gym space in the old middle school ---- a space which the district has yet to determine an ultimate use.

Should the district decide to sell the property ---- recently acquired in a trade, in which the city gained land occupied by the pool and tennis courts ---- the recreation department could have a problem.

"It's going to be extremely hard to have any kind of winter programs," Arnold said.

Should the August referendum fail, Arnold and the rest of his staff will continue to solve the pool's problems as needed.

"It's just always something different," Arnold said. "You never know exactly where it's going to come from."

Commenting has been disabled for this item.