Improvements to the Tualatin Hills Aquatic Center include a new pool deck, new gutters, LED lights and more.

COURTESY: THPRD - The Tualatin Aquatic Center will reopen on Tuesday, after being closed for construction for nearly five months.The Tualatin Parks & Recreation District's flagship pool at the Tualatin Hills Aquatic Center will reopen with several improvements next week.

The aquatic center at the Howard M. Terpenning Recreation Complex, which includes the only 50-meter indoor pool in Oregon, has been closed since August of 2017 for the second phase of a capital improvement project.

The first phase, completed in 2016, included a new roof and heating, ventilation and air conditioning upgrades. It cost $3 million.

The second phase, with a cost of $1.8 million, includes the following improvements: pool tank resurfacing; a new pool deck and new gutters; new LED underwater and overhead lights; dive tower repairs; resurfaced locker room floors; and newly painted walls. Tualatin-based Cedar Mill Construction was the primary contractor for the second phase.

THPRD residents will be able to see the improvements when the aquatic center reopens to the public on Tuesday, Jan. 16. Sharon Hoffmeister, who has served as district superintendent of aquatics since 1994, said that the pool tank improvements likely will be among the most noticeable improvements.

"We typically resurface and replaster the pool tanks every 10 years," she said. "That'll be noticeable for some, because once we get to the end of the useful life of plaster, you start seeing staining and maybe some rust coming through."

THPRD had not replaced the pool deck since the facility opened in 1978. The aquatic center originally was slated to reopen in mid-December, but that date got pushed back because some plumbing and electrical elements had to be brought up to code.

"Once you remove the old pool deck, we knew there might be some surprises, because the plumbing was the original plumbing, and some of the electrical was original," Hoffmeister said. "So we knew we might encounter some challenges, and we did."

THPRD also took the opportunity to improve the berm on the west side of the aquatic center. The berm was an unfinished area covered with red cinder blocks that THPRD used for storage.

"That area was redesigned and flattened to create additional storage space in the pool area," Hoffmeister said. "It will be a much more efficient use of the space."

THPRD has six indoor pools and two outdoor pools. During the construction period, the district kept the outdoor pools — which are typically closed for the winter — open, so that the five swim, water polo and synchronized swimming teams that use the Terpenning Complex's pool would still have a practice space.

"It's highly unusual for us to have our outdoor pools open in January," THPRD spokesperson Bob Wayt said with a laugh.

The pool has hosted Olympic swimmers and divers, and often draws teams from out of state looking for an indoor 50-meter pool with a diving tower — a rarity in the Pacific Northwest. Although it won't be open to the public until Tuesday, THPRD will host a swim meet there this weekend.

"We're really looking forward to the public being able to see the improvements," Wayt said.

Blair Stenvick
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