Pool shutdown likely in fall | AspenTimes.com

Pool shutdown likely in fall

Janet Urquhart
Aspen Times Staff Writer

The new swimming pools at the Aspen Recreation Center are likely to be shut down for an extended period next fall rather than this spring for repainting.

The city had originally contemplated closing down the two pools this spring for a project that is expected to cost $300,000 to $400,000 and leave swimmers high and dry for seven weeks.

“The bottom line is, we’ve got a window in the spring and a window in the fall and the window in the fall is bigger,” said Ed Sadler, assistant city manager.

With events planned at the pools in June, Sadler said he’s not anxious to start the project this spring and find out the work will take longer than anticipated, jeopardizing the summer activities.

The ARC opened last spring, shortly after the city filed a lawsuit against the architectural firm that designed the facility. The suit claimed deficiencies in the plans resulted in cost overruns of more than $900,000.

Since the facility opened, defects in the paint job in the swimming pool area have surfaced, with rust seeping through the painted metal surfaces.

“There’s a lot of structural metal in there ” everything from the beams to the stairs to parts of the slide,” Sadler said. All of it needs to be stripped of paint, re-primed and repainted, he said.

An independent consultant hired jointly by the city and the architects faulted the paint specifications, according to Sadler.

While the lawsuit against Durrant Architects Inc. remains unresolved, Sadler said Durrant has been asked to take care of the repainting and cover its cost.

“We’re sort of saying, ‘Would you like to step up and take this off the list of disputed items?'” he said.

If the city hires the paint contractor and pays for the work, it will look to recoup the expenses through the lawsuit, which both sides have expressed an interest in settling out of court.

Sadler has been seeking prices from painters; the $300,000 to $400,000 cost is for a paint job with a 15-year life expectancy, he said.

The ARC will extend the expiration dates on user passes to make up for the shutdown, according to Tim Anderson, city recreation director. If the pools are closed for seven weeks, the city will add a couple of months for affected pass-holders, he said.

“We’re not going to short people any time,” Anderson said.

[Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com]