After more than five months, swimmers are diving into the Dalplex pool once again.
Last week, members of the Dal Tigers varsity swim team were the first to dip their toes back into the water since the Dalplex pool was drained back in December 2016 to address structural issues. And beginning Thursday, June 8, the pool is set to gradually begin to reopen to Dalplex patrons.
Initially, activity in the pool will be very limited, allowing time for careful and ongoing daily assessment of the repairs and water levels. Only the deep end will open for limited lane swimming, as additional repairs are still required for the shallow end. Should the repairs remain strong and intact, with water levels and water quality remaining consistent, activities will gradually be added.
“The issues with the pool were very complex and the discovery process was very time consuming,” says Kathie Wheadon, director of facilities and business services for the Dalhousie’s Department of Athletics and Recreational Services. “We tried everything we could to determine what was causing the problems. We conducted pressure tests and dye tests, we did video inspections, we consulted with several different types of engineers, as well as pool experts.”
Due diligence in repairs
Athletics and Recreational Services staff first became aware of issues with the pool in November 2016, when water levels began to drop. The pool was drained on December 13. Several issues were eventually discovered and repaired, including leaking pipes and hairline cracks.
Wheadon understands how anxious swimmers are to get back in the pool, to get back to their normal fitness and workout routines, and that Dalplex staff very much appreciates the patience they’ve shown thus far.
“We had hoped we would have been able to reopen sooner but it was imperative that we do our due diligence when it came to the repairs,” she says.
Maintenance to continue
Patrons can expect additional closures in the coming weeks while further repairs are finished to the shallow end. “ Everyone is working hard to have the entire pool open as soon as possible,” says Whedon.
She also explains that it is important to recognize that these repairs are not a permanent solution and they will need continuing maintenance.
Monitoring of the water levels and water quality will be ongoing, and planned closures for thorough inspections will be scheduled every 3-4 months. There could also be unplanned closures related to unexplainable water loss or if concerns arise with the water chemistry that cannot be quickly solved.
The university is committed to exploring longer-term alternatives, and to keeping the pool open while this important work continues in the months ahead.
A Tigers test-run
Last week’s swim for members of the Dal Tigers varsity swim team helped test the durability of the repairs during training swims. The team had been training on a reduced schedule out of the Centennial Pool in downtown Halifax during the closure.
“We are so grateful to all of the people who were so committed to getting the pool back up and running,” says Lance Cansdale, Dal Tiger’s varsity swim team coach. “We did our best to remain positive and the athletes and coaching staff were always hopeful we’d see the pool reopen sooner rather than later. This year posed more than its share of challenges but at the end of the day, we persevered. But it sure is great to be home.”
A schedule of lane swimming times is available on the Dalplex website or by calling 902-494-3372. Schedules are available for June 8-11 and June 12-18, and will be updated weekly on Fridays beginning June 18.
Dalplex memberships that were temporarily frozen due to the pool closure will be automatically reactivated when the pool reopens on Thursday, June 8.
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