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Kodiak's pool closed for maintenance as Borough weighs costs of further repairs

The pool has ramp access near the front but gets as deep as 12 feet near the diving board.
BRIAN VENUA / KMXT
The pool has ramp access near the front but gets as deep as 12 feet near the diving board. It takes over 200,000 gallons of water to fill the pool.

Kodiak’s swimming pool has been closed for the majority of May as it undergoes needed repairs. KMXT took a tour of the drained pool and has more on what’s going on below the surface.

The local swimming pool, located inside a Kodiak Island Borough School District building, was first opened about 15 years ago in 2009 at a cost of roughly $12 million.

Since then, it has slowly been rusting and deteriorating on the surface in certain areas of the deck. Despite previous maintenance and repairs over the past five years, some parts of the pool deck now have major cracks and have rebar sticking out through the tiles.

“We don’t know exactly why this is happening, but it seems like there is some water penetration into the concrete and it’s possible that rebuilding the sand tanks will improve that situation," Jessica Moore, the interim director of maintenance and operations at Kodiak Island Borough School District, explained.

Jessica Moore with KIBSD explains some of the pieces that make up the pool's filtration system, including the sand tanks.
BRIAN VENUA / KMXT
Jessica Moore with KIBSD explains some of the pieces that make up the pool's filtration system, including the sand tanks.

The Borough owns all of the local aquatic facilities including the pool building, while the school district is in charge of maintaining the pool; and the City of Kodiak operates the pool, meaning the city is in charge of scheduling maintenance, employing lifeguards, and communicating with the public about the pool schedule.

Once maintenance staff drained the pool earlier this month, they noticed more rust and lifting happening to the pool deck tiling. This is potentially due to water penetrating into the tile and causing material to be eroded underneath the pool deck. Moore said her staff won’t know the full scope until they rip up the entire pool deck.

“We think that the rebar that holds the form of the concrete together is too close to the edge, but why we are getting any water penetration behind there that would allow [the rebar] to come through, that’s way beyond me," Moore said.

The portion of deck that has exposed rebar will have to be repaired by ripping up about a foot-wide radius around the specific spot. It is unknown when the deck tiling repairs will be done, but Moore said that work will be scheduled for a later time.
She said her staff started draining Kodiak’s pool on May 6 so that scheduled maintenance could be done on the plumbing and filtration systems, as well as repainting the gutters.

"I think we have a pretty good plan for the filtration system, I think that’s going to last a long time," Moore said. "I believe it’s in three years we are due to have the main drains redone, that’s a federal regulation. So that’s upcoming, that’s a known maintenance period. But this issue with the rebar and the rust spots, I think it needs to be addressed sooner than three years.”

Maintenance staff recently repainted the gutters of the pool.
BRIAN VENUA / KMXT
Maintenance staff recently repainted the gutters of the pool.

The borough’s Director of Engineering and Facilities Dave Conrad said the Borough knows more repairs will have to be done in the future, so he would like the Borough Assembly to look at a holistic approach to maintain the pool.

“We need to decide on a long term fix, but rather than piecemeal-ing all of this, perhaps get a price to repair the whole thing so that the public has an idea," Conrad said. "And we should probably increase our maintenance frequencies on some of these items, rather than waiting collectively for 15 years so to speak.”

Conrad said an outside consultant called Water Technology Inc. or WTI, was brought in last year to assess the facility and deemed there is no emergency with the current condition of Kodiak’s pool.

But during a recent Borough Assembly meeting on May 16, Assembly members questioned the lifespan of the aquatics facility and the cost estimates for future work on the pool. Conrad told them he did not have a direct answer about the exact dollar amount.

“So I think we need to look at it holistically and fix it as best we can and then implement a regimented maintenance program, that we check our chemistry constantly, and maybe do a better job than the good job we are already doing," Conrad said.

According to Conrad, as of the week of May 20, KIBSD was estimating the work currently being done at the pool would cost up to $50,000.

Borough staff said they are still planning on the pool being open to the public this summer. Registration is currently open online for swim lessons, which are scheduled to begin on June 3.
Although an exact reopening date has not been announced yet, the City of Kodiak’s Parks and Recreation Department’s schedule lists the pool as closed for maintenance through June 2.