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Swimmers will soon breathe easier

Improvements to school district pool include better air circulation

Photo Credit: REVIEW PHOTO: JILLIAN DALEY - Workers lay down a coat of sealant on the Lake Oswego School District pools concrete flooring, from left: Phil Williams, Tom Williams, Phil Oppen and Josh Williams. Healthy and safety concerns at the Lake Oswego School District pool have spurred a summer maintenance blitz.

LOSD Director of Facilities Rob Dreier said a recent inspection by Clackamas County health inspectors inspired the district to shut down the pool for more than just a clean this summer. A more stable district budget also was a factor with the school board giving the green light to improvements earlier this year. Several upgrades will cost about $165,500 and are intended to improve air quality, make flooring less treacherous and eradicate some mildew.

“A lot of this is driven by a health inspection. ... We told the inspector we would make the repairs for the summer,” Dreier said.

When the pool opens on Monday, Aug. 18, it will have undergone three weeks of repairs, including a resurfaced pool area and refurbished dive boards. Upgrades to the air system likely will be done by the end of the summer, Dreier said.

The pool, which was built in 1970, has needed repairs for years, but a lack of funds during difficult financial times landed it on a long list of deferred maintenance projects.

But the district’s sustainable budget for 2014-15, coupled with the health concerns, added impetus to the upgrades.

Dreier said the air circulation system improvements are among the most crucial, because the current system is out of date. Proper air circulation can blow away a buildup of chloramine, a respiratory irritant, a mixture of sweat and other waste from swimmers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“What you try to do is make the air as healthy as you can,” Dreier said.Photo Credit: REVIEW PHOTO: JILLIAN DALEY - Phil Williams and Tom Williams are among several people working on major upgrades at the Lake Oswego School District pool.

Lake Oswego Swim Club Board President Mark Cranch said the club’s about 170 members will be glad to have the improved air, so they can breathe easier during practice.

“The pool is well used, so it’s great that it’s getting some deserved maintenance,” Cranch said. “We’re so grateful for the improvements.”

The club’s also helping out, cleaning the stainless steel parts of the diving blocks, which likely are original and so more than four decades old.

There’s much rust and calcification to contend with. The district is seeing that the diving blocks’ platforms are being replaced, and the blocks also will be securely bolted to the floor, which was not the case before.

In February, pool manager Natasha Payne said she had to insert a screwdriver into a gap between the concrete and the base of several diving blocks to keep the wobbly platforms stable during a district swimming competition. So, many swimmers may be glad for the changes.

“We’re pretty excited,” said Amy Bearden, a Lakeridge High alum, lifeguard and Lake Oswego High swim team coach. “This pool is a great asset to the community, and everyone loves using it, but it’s pretty old, and it’s needed a little TLC. It’s finally getting that.”

There are a lot of areas at the pool that are getting some TLC this summer, including the concrete flooring around the pool. It had been spalling, which means the rebar beneath the concrete had rusted, causing the surface above to break up and become pitted.

Tiles at the water’s edge had broken off, leaving gaps and edges. The school district can’t afford to replace the broken tiles that are being removed, but the flooring will be smoothed out and sealed, a lower-cost alternative, Dreier said.

The flooring in the women’s locker room was slick, so a resurfacing there will render it less slippery. And both men and women no longer will have to inhale the scent of mildew in the showers, as the district is replacing some of the wall paneling, or FRP.

Bruce Plato, Community Schools sports programs director, said the improvements will be beneficial.

“The cracks in the pool deck, that was hazardous,” said Plato, who also has served as the Lake Oswego High principal. “The recirculated air — that will be good for patrons.”

For more information about the Lake Oswego Swim Club, visit www.lakeoswegoswimclub.org and for more on the Lake Oswego School District pool, visit www.edline.net/pages/Lake_Oswego_School_District/Community/District_Swimming_Pool.

By Jillian Daley
503-636-1281, ext. 109
email: jdaley@lakeoswegoreview.com
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