Pools close for repainting | AspenTimes.com

Pools close for repainting

Janet Urquhart

The swimming pools at the new Aspen Recreation Center will close Tuesday for more than two months while a contractor strips the paint off every metal surface in the pool area and repaints it – a job one local painting contractor is criticizing as “overkill.”The city has approved a $450,000 contract with Techno Coatings Inc. to do the work, which will keep the pools closed until shortly before Thanksgiving. The other facilities at the ARC will remain open.Don Jewkes, who owns Jewkes Custom Painting Inc. in Snowmass Village, said he thinks the city is “wasting money” with the extensive project.He put together a team of contractors and took a look at the paint problems in the pool area with the intention of submitting a bid to do the work.The team and a representative of their paint supplier all came to the same conclusion, he said: Strip and repaint some surfaces, make repairs to others. The galvanized metal ceiling over the pools, for example, won’t rust and doesn’t need repainting, Jewkes said.Ultimately, his team chose not to submit a bid at all, thinking the job could not be completed in the time frame the city was demanding.”It’s not like I’m a disgruntled painting contractor,” Jewkes said. “I don’t live in Aspen, but I just think they’re spending way too much money.”The city has sued Durrant Architects Inc., which designed the ARC and prepared the paint specifications, with hopes of recouping the cost of the pool paint job, along with other cost overruns that the city has blamed on the firm.An outside consultant, brought in by the city and Durrant, and coating experts who have looked at the paint situation in the pool area, all advised the city to have the metal stripped and repainted, according to Ed Sadler, assistant city manager.”It’s not overkill,” he said.”The problem is there is scale underneath the paint,” Sadler said. “The paint sticks to the scale, but the scale won’t stick to the metal. It comes off.”Scale isn’t rust, but a deterioration of the metal, which is being exposed to constant moisture due to the improper paint used in the facility, he said. In some areas, metal is rusting.As for the galvanized metal ceiling, Sadler said: “Go look at the diving platforms. They’re galvanized, they’re rusting.”Sadler was questioned by attorneys last week in the latest round of depositions in preparation for a trial in the lawsuit, which is scheduled for August 2005. Both sides, however, have expressed an interest in settling the case.The ARC, which opened in April 2003, hadn’t even been open a year when rust “blooms” first began appearing on the painted metal surfaces in the pool area, which contains both a lap pool and a leisure pool. While the pools are shut down, sound baffling will be installed on the ceiling to cut down on the din in the room.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com


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