Maintenance staff with the Tehachapi Valley Recreation and Parks District worked to put the finishing touches on rehabilitation of the Dye Natatorium pool last week as they prepare for its long-awaited reopening in early February.
The pool is expected to be available Feb. 10 for the general public, according to Matt Young, general manager of the Tehachapi Valley Recreation and Parks District.
The Tehachapi Unified School District will have access to the facility starting Feb. 3, Young said, as the Tehachapi High School swim team will begin preparation for its upcoming season.
Young said the school district will take up a substantial amount of pool time from February until May, once swim season is in full swing.
Parks and Rec officials made the decision to close Tehachapi's only public swimming pool last May when it was discovered that condensation had accumulated on the ceiling, leading to extensive mold growth in some of the building's drywall.
Following the decision to close, the district began renovations by installing new foam roofing and skylights. Subsequent to exterior improvements, a comprehensive structural abatement and demolition to eradicate all mold growth was performed.
Since then, Dye Natatorium has undergone other extensive renovations, including a complete reconstruction of its front interior area, including expanded dressing rooms and restrooms, as well as a freshly painted deck and benches.
Young said the district is hoping to make the facility more eco-friendly with energy efficient LED lighting and blowdryers, rather than paper towel dispensers in the bathrooms.
"We are excited to reopen," he said. "This is a great community center." Young added that the district will wait until June to host a grand reopening.
Although district officials had hoped to keep pool closed for only a short time, Young said they felt it was worthwhile to use the time to make other changes that will bring the 45-year-old facility up to modern-day standards and requirements.
In order to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act, the district installed a lift-assisted chair that will enable handicapped patrons to get in and out of the pool and has expanded restrooms and fitting rooms as well.
Other bureaucratic processes hindered the district from reopening in a timely matter, Young said.
"We had to go through a competitive bidding process, which requires us to write a Request for Proposal," and that takes time, Young said.
All in all the entire project set the district back a little over $100,000, Young estimated.
Once the facility is reopened, the district will continue to make amendments to the front area, including adding a kiosk for check-in of pool visitors.
Young said the district hopes to add more classes at Dye Natatorium, including scuba diving and aqua fitness classes.