Truman's Pond opening indefinitely delayed

The pool requires maintenance work before it can open.
Truman's Pond outdoor pool at the Student Recreation Complex will open later than usual this spring. Drainage gates in the pool need to be upgraded to comply with new federal pool regulations.

The Student Recreation Complex announced on their Web site April 16 the opening of Truman's Pond, the recreation center's outdoor pool, will be indefinitely delayed.

Recreation and facilities Director Diane Dahlmann said Truman's Pond requires maintenance work in accordance with the Virginia Graeme Baker Spa and Pool Safety Act, including the installation of new drain gates and suction fittings.

Dahlmann said the weather has kept the required work from being completed.

"In 2009 the weather has not been consistently warm enough to complete the prep work, let alone swim outdoors," Dahlmann said in an e-mail. "Additional tile and deck work still needs to be completed at this time."

Dahlmann said Truman's Pond probably won't be ready until after the 2009 spring semester ends.

"It is hoped that the pool will be ready for use by Memorial Day, however the actual date depends on product and installer availability," Dahlman said. "The demand for both the installation and new grates is significant throughout the U.S.A., as this is high season for outdoor pools."

Funds from the Department of Recreation Services and Facilities will be used to cover the cost of the maintenance, which the recreation center and MU Environmental Health and Safety are working together to complete.

"We're helping the Rec Center ensure they're meeting the requirements of the pool and safety act," MU Environmental Health Director Peter Ashbrook said. "Right now, we're sort of at the mercy of when these products we need are available."

The act, signed into law by former President George Bush on Dec. 19, 2007, required the drain gates of public pools and spas to meet certain requirements and became effective Dec. 19, 2008. Pools and spas opening in Spring 2009 therefore had additional time to fix their drains to the act's specifications.

"This act is a nationwide thing and everybody's rushing to meet the deadline, making it hard to acquire the parts we need," Ashbrook said. "My understanding is that our pool is unique and you can't just pick up these parts off the shelves."

The absence of Truman's Pond and the recent warm weather has caused some students to travel to other pools, such as the one at Mark Twain Residence Hall.

"The weather was really nice last weekend, for example," freshman Alysha Love said. "I definitely would have been in the pool by now and I think a lot of other people would have been too."

Dahlmann said Truman's Pond also still requires regular maintenance work that takes place each spring.

"At this point in the lifecycle of the outdoor pool, it is time to paint the pool shell with an epoxy paint," Dahlman said. "Prior to painting, the pool shell must be hot water pressure-cleaned, cracks sealed, stencil applied and tile repaired. Once again, in order for this work to be completed correctly, the temperatures must be consistently warm and the surfaces dry."

When Truman's Pond does open it will be available through summer until Oct. 1, weather permitting.

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