Elevation Mistake Delays Opening of $3.2M City Pool

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Members of the Tulsa Park and Recreation Board were informed this week that a new concrete pool in the city’s Lacy Park has formed cracks after being built at the wrong elevation, likely delaying the opening of the long-awaited, $3.2 million facility a full year.

According to Gary Schellhorn with city engineering, the pool was built 3.5 inches below the designated elevation level. “Losing 3.5 inches in height really is difficult in making your grades work because per the (state) health code and per ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), you have certain slopes you have to make,” said Schellhorn.

The new pool’s concrete shell was already 85-percent complete when contractors discovered the error in November 2018. The city is hoping the elevation can be corrected without having to dig out the existing shell. The proposed plan includes changes to the gradation circumventing the pool and modifications to the original drainage system design.

The next few weeks will be spent testing the poured concrete for leaks caused by the cracks and reviewing the city’s improvement plan. Parks Director Anna America told the Tulsa World, “Both of [the problems] may be worse than we think, or both may be very easily fixable.”

The city’s priority, according to America, is not to rush the process but to come up with a complete solution. “The key thing going in, as we have made abundantly clear, we will not accept something that is an inferior product,” she said.

At a meeting earlier this week, Park Board member Yvonne Hovell emphasized the importance of meeting the community’s expectations for the new facility, pointing out that several pools in the north of the city have been demolished with the promise of a superior facility at Lacy Park.

“A whole community is losing something that has been looked forward to,” said Hovell. “We’ve asked the community to be patient — we’re going to have pools back in service this summer — and we’ve already had to acknowledge that’s not going to happen.”

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