Members of the North Bend City Council toured the city pool Monday, getting as close-up look at the work that needs to be done before the pool can reopen.
Mayor Jessica Engelke and council members Pat Goll, Susanna Nordhoff and Timm Slater all walked through the pool with City Administrator David Millirorn and Recorder KayLee Marone.
Marone, who served as the aquatics administrator before becoming recorder, led the tour.
While most members of the council grew up using the pool, few had seen the inner workings before.
Engelke said the tour was requested in light of the upcoming vote to determine whether a levy will be passed to provide additional funding for the pool.
“I thought it was very clear to the council that letting the citizens decide was the right thing to do,” Engelke said. “This tour can give us more information to provide citizens with as much information as possible so they can make a good decision.”
The North Bend Municipal Pool was built in 1956 and has been a mainstay in the city for 65 years. Marone confirmed the pool was built after a rash of drownings by children in the community. It offered year-round swim lessons until it was closed a year ago due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Marone pointed out many functions of the pool that were state-of-the-art in 1956 but are no longer economically feasible.
The primary focus was behind the scenes. The pump and filtration system that cleans water and adds appropriate chemicals remains mostly intact from 1956. That leads to a lot of problems. Marone explained the filter is so old, pool employees must make the filters by hand because they are no longer produced.
In addition, the pump, which is required to move 600 gallons of water a minute, must always be adjusted to keep it near that pace.
“They don’t make these,” Marone said, pointing to the filters she and the pool staff put together by hand. “These are dinosaurs.”
One room over, the council members saw the boiler, which is designed to warm both the water for the pool and the building itself. The boiler was installed in 1984 and originally used diesel to create a steam system for warming water. It now uses natural, but it still outdated.
“It’s about 80 percent efficient,” Marone said.
She said for the pool to function properly, three key elements need to be replaced. She said the top priorities are a new pump system, filter system and boiler. The city estimates those three would cost $375,000 to replace.
In addition, a new air handling system, hot water heaters for the shower and code compliance upgrades would cost $240,000.
That would add to more than $500,000 the city has spent on improvements and upgrades over the last eight years. Some of that work included replacing the roof and repairs to the boiler, air handling system and painting the building.
The pool holds 255,000 gallons of water and was constructed as a 25-meter Olympic size pool. It is used for lessons, open swims, therapeutic reasons and as the home of the North Bend and Southwest Oregon Community College swim teams.