Colman Pool: 9 days, 1 big operation till outdoor pool reopens

Those bags are part of a 57,000-pound special delivery that arrived at Colman Pool Wednesday morning (thanks to some tricky truck maneuvering): A special plaster mix that will be applied to the outdoor swimming pool’s surfaces right before the water starts flowing back in. It’s the final major step before the pool’s scheduled June 30th reopening after 5 months of work in the second phase of its $1.4 million renovation project. What was happening Wednesday was the cleaning and other preparation before the plaster:

Seattle Parks‘ project manager Garrett Farrell agreed to show us around the site, with just over a week to go till its belated season opening. Ahead – what you are most likely to notice when you first visit the pool this year; a hint .. it’s not in the water!

Here’s the big difference veteran visitors will notice: Part of the pool deck has been redone – which means it’ll be more comfortable underfoot; no more pebbly aggregate. You can see it behind general contractor Orca Pacific‘s president Aaron Kimura in our photo:

The new plaster (a product called Diamond Brite) also will mean a “tactile” difference, says project manager Farrell. Visually, it’ll be tinted slightly blue. It’ll cover everything inside the pool except the tiled joint lines:

And since the plaster will be brand-new, they won’t be starting the year with salt water – the pool will be filled from the nearby hydrant; salt water is too harsh for the new plaster, he says. But will it be warm enough? Guess what – a new boiler is part of what’s been installed:

The natural-gas-fired boiler is similar to the one installed during Southwest Pool’s renovations in 2008 (a project also managed by Farrell). Much of what’s been done to the pool, though, won’t be visible – unless you happen to go into the tunnel that houses much of the piping; it has new entrances, too (at left in the photo below, with the fan over it):

You may not have ever noticed those, or the hatches to the covered gutter around the pool, also redone:

Right now, the area around the pool is such a busy work zone, it’s hard to imagine that’ll all be gone a week from Saturday, on opening day. On the south side of the pool building, PVC piping is stacked up:

Scott, working with the plumbing parts during our tour, also worked on new piping for the Seattle Aquarium, we learned. Farrell spoke with pride of all the subcontractors, including Sergio and his crew, who are scheduled to take on the plaster job – one of the last trades done all by hand, we’re told – starting tomorrow. Then, if that goes well – a little rain over the weekend “won’t be a bad thing,” says Farrell – and the health inspection is passed next week, the June 30th opening will be on (here’s the season schedule) and the 71-year-old pool will be in shape to last at least till its centennial.

7 Replies to "Colman Pool: 9 days, 1 big operation till outdoor pool reopens"

  • Tina Doherty June 21, 2012 (9:42 am)

    Not filled with salt water?? That was one of the big attractions about Colman! Will the water be full of chlorine instead? Might as well just go to the pool at the Y. *sigh* :(

    • WSB June 21, 2012 (9:49 am)

      It will get saltier – they just can’t use the salt water at the start of the year. It’ll be up to resident pool operator Mark Sears to keep watch on how everything goes, as always. The salt water is also chlorinated after being brought in, which is one reason they no longer send it back out into the Sound (there is a holding tank at Colman that then sends water through the treatment system) – TR

  • kim June 21, 2012 (9:51 am)

    I have appreciated how all the contractors and workers have been so respectful of park users. They drive very slowly and carefully along the path when accessing the site and defer to the pedestrians consistantly. (Unlike the Seattle Parks Department staff who speed in their trucks in the park and are generally rude.)

  • Tina Doherty June 21, 2012 (9:54 am)

    Thanks for the clarification, Tracy! As always, great job on the reporting! :)

  • Jim June 21, 2012 (12:01 pm)

    Kim, Thanks for noticing. With any contractor we always need to exercise caution when driving in areas like this.

  • Kris June 22, 2012 (8:35 am)

    Summer doesn’t begin for me until I take my first swim in Colman!!! Yea, it’s coming!! I too love swimming in a pool with salt water. But, most of all the thrill of swimming in Colman Pool is the setting and the length for those long laps. What a view! We are so fortunate to have this facility as a public pool.

  • Jordan June 22, 2012 (9:49 am)

    Super interesting. Used to clean swimming pools for a small Eastside company during High School. Coleman is the first one that I’ve ever heard of that has tunnels alongside the gutters. Very cool and makes sense for such a large pool.

    I am surprised that they use chlorine when it has salt water. A salt system would have made more sense since the salt is already present to create the chlorine.

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