• Opening of north Tulsa's new Lacy Park swimming pool delayed

    By: KEVIN CANFIELD, Tulsa World

    Updated:
    TULSA, Okla. (AP) - Tulsans planning to take a dip in the new Lacy Park swimming pool this summer will have to wait another year.

    Park and Recreation Board members were informed recently that the concrete pool was built at the wrong elevation and has cracks.

    "It's clear the pool will not be open this summer," Anna America, Parks Director, said to the Tulsa World.

    Gary Schellhorn with city engineering told board members that the contractor building the pool constructed it 3.5 inches below the elevation level set out in design plans. The $3.2 million project was scheduled to be completed in March.

    The concrete pool shell was 85 percent completed when the contractor discovered the elevation problem in November.

    "Losing 3.5 inches in height really is difficult in making your grades work," Schellhorn said, "because per the (state) health code and per ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), you have certain slopes you have to make."

    After the meeting, Schellhorn explained that the state Health Department grading standards are intended to ensure that water that spills out of the pool does not flow back into it and that fluids from outside the pool don't drain into it.

    The standards set out by the ADA, meanwhile, are meant to ensure that everyone has equal access to the pool.

    America said during a recent meeting that the pool might have to be dug up. But after the meeting, she explained that the city is hopeful that it can address the problems without taking such a drastic step.

    The city has a plan to change the grading around the pool to prevent water from collecting and is looking at modifying the pool's drainage system, America said. Also, tests are being conducted to see what leaks, if any, have been caused by the cracks in the concrete.

    If the city's plan can address the elevation problem and no leaks are found, the pool would not have to be torn out. However, the pool still could not be opened this summer because the contractor will need time to make the improvements and have the pool inspected by the Health Department.

    The concrete testing and review of the city's improvement plans are expected to be completed soon.

    "Both of them (the problems) may be worse than we think, or both may be very easily fixable," America said.

    She added: "We would not submit something if we did not think it would meet their standards."

    The general contractor on the project is Magnum Construction, and the pool sub-contractor is Westport Pools, city officials said recently.

    America said those firms have been very helpful and cooperative.

    "From our standpoint, it is the contractor's responsibility," she said.

    America told Park Board members the city does not want to rush the process.

    "The key thing going in, as we have made abundantly clear, we will not accept something that is an inferior product," she said.

    Park Board member Yvonne Hovell said it was important for the board to remember that north Tulsans have seen their public pools demolished with the promise that Lacy Park would become the area's super park.

    "And here we are talking about tearing out a pool," she said. "A whole community - a whole community - is losing something that has been looked forward to.

    "We've asked the community to be patient - we're going to have pools back in service this summer - and we've already had to acknowledge that's not going to happen."

    Tulsans approved funding to replace its five city pools as part of the Improve Our Tulsa sales tax package. The first pool replaced was at McClure Park. It opened last year.

    The city is trying to open one new pool a year. Now that the Lacy Park pool won't open until next year, plans remain to build a new pool at Whiteside Park next year. The pools at Reed Park and Berry Park are next in line for replacement.

    The city pools that will be open this summer, beginning in the first week of June, are McClure, Berry, Whiteside and Reed.

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    Information from: Tulsa World, http://www.tulsaworld.com

    An AP Member Exchange shared by Tulsa World.

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