Pool repairs needed fast

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BRATTLEBORO — Recent upgrades to the Living Memorial Park swimming pool have failed, but no one is pointing any fingers just yet.

At the last minute, an item was added to Tuesday's Select Board meeting agenda to remedy the problem.

"I apologize for the late-breaking news aspect of it," Town Manager Peter Elwell said. "This situation only arose yesterday. If we would have waited, it would have lost half of our summer for the kids at the pool."

By making the repairs sooner than later, the pool is expected to open — as planned — on June 17.

G.S. Bolton, of Rochester, N.H., started the first phase of renovations at the pool last fall, addressing main drain issues and the loss of water to the tune of about $175,880. The contractor came back on May 9 to complete some work, which was supposed to include adding a small amount of concrete around the main drain, testing the skimmer for leaks, and painting lane lines and wall lines. That's when the new damage came to light.

"Over the course of the winter, some of the repair work that was done last fall (on the top of the pool wall just below the skimmer) has failed due to freezing and cracking," Recreation and Parks Director Carol Lolatte wrote to the board on Monday, stating that immediate action was needed and the fixes could cost as much as $20,000 in supplies and labor.

Elwell said he did not want to speculate on the damage and an engineer will need to investigate the cause.

"We'll get to the bottom of it and then we'll address responsibility with the contractor and engineer," he said. "What we understand has happened was some moisture got in behind the wall and created some expansion. Some of the wall failed."

An engineer has recommended that the town replace the deck of the pool at the end of the swimming season. Previously, that project was slated to happen during the third phase of pool improvements in fiscal year 2020.

An agenda item about the deck is anticipated in June.

"That should protect the integrity of the investment we're making in the pool work," Elwell said.

The pool is 60 years old, Lolatte told the board.

"Doing the projects in phases, you know, brings on its own challenges and what's behind door number three," she said.

Reach staff writer Chris Mays at 802-254-2311, ext. 273, or @CMaysBR.

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