The Transylvania Times -

By Jeremiah Reed
Staff Writer 

Champion Pool Still Has Problems - Brevard NC


Transylvania County commissioners will once again be faced with decisions regarding Champion Pool in Rosman as repairs made to the pool this spring are beginning to fail and $15,000 in funding for repairs has nearly evaporated.

The issue will be discussed at tonight’s regular county commissioners’ meeting. According to a brief prepared by Carleen Dixon, county parks and recreation director, decking repairs made to the pool earlier this year have already begun to crack and the pool’s pump system (which dates back to when the facility was originally built in 1979) is beginning to fail, resulting in difficulty maintaining a chemical balance in the water.

In March, commissioners voted unanimously to approve $15,000 in funding for repairs at the pool. Of that amount, $9,390 was dedicated for decking and tile repairs. Photos taken recently at Champion Pool show several areas where the decking has cracked and some instances were entire chunks of decking have decayed.

The brief also says that at least once a week, sometimes twice, staff is struggling with water clarity at the pool. In some instances, those struggles have caused staff to close the pool due to lifeguard visibility concerns.

Dixon said while both issues are worrisome, the pump system is the larger concern as the decking can, and has been, repaired over the season but the pump system could not be repaired as easily if it were to fail.

“The aging pump system is a huge thing,” Dixon said. “If one thing is more prominent than the other I would say it’s (the pump) because it’s harder to handle. The decking we just continue to patch it and patch it and patch it to keep working.”

Dixon said there have been several rounds of deck repairs since the pool opened, with the latest round coming last week.

Commissioners have discussed Champion Pool’s maintenance issues extensively in the past and the facility has undergone several minor repairs over the past 10 years, including installing a new filter in 2005, re-plastering the pool’s liner in 2008, installing new drains and the new diving board in 2009, and relaying concrete on the shallow end of the pool in 2011. Last year, commissioners also approved $5,000 in emergency funding for deck repairs.

In January, Counsilman-Hunsicker, a St. Louis-based aquatic firm, conducted an audit on the pool that showed the pool to be in “bad disrepair.” Commissioners reviewed the results of that audit at a meeting in February and instructed staff to come back with an assessment of how much it would take to get the facility operational for the season.

In a March interview, George Deines, project manager for Counsilman-Hunsicker, said the pool’s mechanical system was operational but on its last legs.

“The question is more of one of lifespan for the equipment and meeting the current industry standards for pool mechanical and filtration equipment. I believe that the equipment is close to the end of its useful lifespan,” Deines said.

Deines’ audit included 10 recommended items for repair in order to bring the facility up to modern standards. Those items ranged from $15,000 for replacing the entry ramp to the pool’s bathhouse to $300,000 for replacement of the wading pool. The total cost for all recommended items was approximately $1,000,000.

In past discussions regarding Champion Pool, commissioners have cited the facility’s importance to the Rosman community, particularly given the fact that there is no public swimming facility outside of Brevard. The $15,000 in approved funding was meant to go toward “Band-Aid work” – essentially, doing just the bare bones repairs needed for the facility to operate.

However, as those repairs have clearly failed and with funding nearly depleted (currently only $700 of that $15,000 in funding remain) commissioners now have a difficult decision to make regarding the long-term viability of Champion Pool.

Part of the problem involves the nature and scope of some of the repairs. Although some aspects of the pool can be repaired individually, once a certain threshold of repairs is crossed, it would require the entire facility to be reconstructed to comply with new codes and also to comply with ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) regulations.

In essence, without a complete overhaul of the facility – along with the price tag of $1,000,000 – county staff can only address minor repairs on an ad hoc basis.

The problem isn’t expected to go away either, as Deines said aging facilities only cost more money to maintain as they get older.

“As aquatic facilities age it does take more and more annual maintenance dollars for minor repairs to keep the facility operating,” Deines said.

Dixon said the purpose of tonight’s presentation was to provide commissioners an update on the facility and did not include any recommendations as to continued funding. In the meantime, Champion Pool is expected to remain open until school begins in August.

More information regarding Champion Pool will appear in Thursday’s edition.


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