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CHCS considers pool repairs

Earlier this year, the COVID-19 pandemic forced closure of many businesses, including fitness centers. Community HealthCare System closed its Fitness Centers, including the pool at our Onaga Fitness Center, which is attached to Onaga Community Hospital. Although the rest of the Fitness Center reopened in early June (with restricted hours, enhanced cleaning, and social distancing rules), the pool has not reopened because of maintenance problems. Several members of our community have requested an update on this important community asset.

Although CHCS was aware that aging pool equipment, all of which was installed in 1998, needed repairs before the pandemic, limited resources and budgets have required prioritizing other needs in the past few years. As staff prepared to reopen the pool along with the rest of the Fitness Center this spring, it became clear that we could no longer delay repairs. Unfortunately, the total cost is estimated to be approximately $175,000. Capital expenditures at this level require special approval, and managing through the pandemic and associated budget uncertainty has pushed other items to the top of the agenda for the past several months.

The new CHCS maintenance manager, who started work in late August, has provided a fresh perspective on this project. COVID-19 has slowed and complicated the process of collecting solid estimates for repairs, but we know the following items need to be replaced:

  • Pool system (including filters, pumps, lines, and chemical regulation system);
  • The fire suppression system (sprinklers);
  • Sheetrock in the pool area ceiling; and
  • Heating and air conditioning for the pool area.

We understand that many people are eager to use the pool. Members of our Board of Directors are keenly aware of the issues with the pool and our community’s desire to have it reopen safely. The Board has directed administration to develop a comprehensive plan to address pool needs, and our maintenance team is working diligently to assemble a responsible, affordable proposal. We hope to know the board’s decision before the end of the year.

Photo caption: Equipment from 1998 has more than doubled its life expectancy of 10 years and requires replacement. The PoolPak, or pool heater, is at the end of its life (top left); the heater room ceiling is damaged (top right); and the filters and pumps have developed leaks (bottom).

6 comments

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  • Lynn Schafer | Oct 13th 2020 @ 7:57 PM

    APPRECIATE SO MUCH Andrea’s response to my 2 phone calls and acknowledgement of the importance of swimming/pool exercising to whole body health. This delay seems to reflect poor fiscal planning for consistent upkeep and pool maintenance.

  • M | Oct 14th 2020 @ 2:17 AM

    I really hope that CHCS considers fixing and repairing the pool because it can be utilized by the physical therapy department and the community. We always enjoyed the pool and there are also so many community members that utilized the pool for their health and well being. I am sure if CHCS had fundraisers the community would be more than willing to participate in assisting in the cost of the repairs.

  • Leigha Sweet | Oct 14th 2020 @ 8:54 AM

    My grandma was a very frequent visitor to the water aerobics and it was something I believed has kept her in such good health all these years! It’s one of the few forms of exercise that is soo beneficial and easier for the elder generation to partake in. Plus I know she enjoys the company and socialization it provided which is equally as important these days.

  • Marcia Conley | Oct 14th 2020 @ 4:00 PM

    My mother came here for water aerobics several times a week. She could not swim and felt more safe here and enjoyed her friends, got some safe exercise and great socialization. I hear several people say they feel safe here! No small children running about and bumping into them. Like mom, they would not go to a regular pool due to the crowds and etc. please repair the pool and continue to provide such a valued area for all to enjoy.

  • Janice Johnson | Oct 15th 2020 @ 8:44 AM

    We miss the POOL!!!! Please do needed repairs and maintenance so the "Mermaids" can get back to the water!!! It is a wonderful & needed facility. Thank you.

  • Cliff Steuben | Oct 19th 2020 @ 10:25 PM

    Everything gets old and deteriorates, like me. This pool has been a true blessing to me, both physically and psychologically. Onaga's best IMHO. They don't make money, but they make a better community, like city parks, playgrounds, tennis and basketball courts and pools. I hope the powers in the decision making process weigh these factors in. Pricey repairs, I'm sure. Healthier people save our society money. I can donate a fair amount to help with this cost. With luck, I might get 10 to 20 years

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