NEAL P. GOSWAMI
BENNINGTON -- The Bennington Recreation Center is set to reopen following a major renovation project to shore up a wall around the pool.
Larry McLeod, a building inspector and code enforcement officer for the town, said the building would be reopened for the public on Monday. The pool is currently undergoing its yearly cleaning as the contractor completes the project, he said.
"It should be up to temperature in a couple of days. The contractor is wrapping things up," McLeod said. "We’re at the stage of just final touch-ups."
An outside wall around the pool that was replaced cannot be painted until the mortar cures, according to McLeod. That will likely happen in a couple of weeks, he said. Meanwhile, new duct work and ventilation systems will be tested before Monday.
"No glitches, knock on wood, and in budget," he said.
Voters approved a ballot measure by a 3 to 1 margin in March 2011 to borrow up to $680,000 to repair the facility. Town officials originally thought the cost of repairing three walls around the pool, roofs and installing a new ventilation system to prevent the problem from reoccurring would cost about $672,000, including a 15 percent contingency. The town received a low bid of about $350,000, however.
The walls and roof above the pool at the 40-year-old recreation center have now been replaced because the former exhaust system, which carried humid, chlorinated air from the pool area through the walls and out of the building, had corroded structural components. Officials said it could have eventually impacted the integrity of the building if it was not repaired.
The plan originally called for repairing steel support columns within the wall. But the contractor found them to be in more disrepair than expected. All nine columns were replaced.
The project will be completed within the budget. Additionally, a built-in contingency remains nearly fully intact. That will allow for some additional upgrades, McLeod said.
"We haven’t really been hitting our general contingency, except for some asbestos, and we’re looking into some energy efficiency upgrades out of that," he said.
Some more efficient lighting has already been installed, as well as shower heads that use fewer gallons of water per minute and a new pool heater.
"This has been pretty smooth," McLeod said. "The town got a lot of work done for not a lot of money when you think about it."