Athens Review, Athens, Texas

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September 2, 2012

Cain Center pool improvement expected

Athens — The Cain Center swimming pool has been closed for that last few days because of a large water leak discovered at the bottom of the 30-year-old structure.

Tere Lawyer, who takes over as Executive Director of the facility in October, said the board decided to bring in an expert to explore the source of the leaks.

“He dove to the bottom of the pool, and put a device over his ears, and  listened for water leaking from the pool into the ground,” Lawyer said.

Once located, he dug through the bottom of the pool, lowered himself right down to the leaky pipes, and repaired them between 10 a.m.  and 3 p.m. the same day.

That was the easy part.

The hard part was finding a person with the right skills who was also willing to fix the problem, and guarantee his work.

“The leak was causing a big water bill,” she said.

It was more than double what it had been, and the water going into the soil under the pool.

Harley Fitzgerald, who is in charge of maintenance at the Cain Center, including the 270,000 gallons of water maintained in the pool, said a float that measures the  refill of water returning to the pool, used to stay on all the time,

He said it was not unlike the float inside a commode at home that stays on, until the water is back to its normal depth.

Fitzgerald said it used to run all the time, but since the fix, it goes off relatively quickly.

Before the fix, the fresh water came into the pool at a cold  70 degrees. The water, which has to be warmed in the heated pool, is now coming in at 80 degrees,  Lawyer said.

A foamy, spongy fish Synta product called Restore is being applied to the outer bank of the pool, and the hot tub area.

On the inside edge of the pool, where members are used to seeing the 1-inch square titles in the past, it’s no more. To get the drain lids removed, it required tearing up some of the small tiles. Others had been deteriorating, anyway.

New 13-square-inch tiles, purchased at Adams Surplus with a no-slip surface, are being applied to the inner part of the pool bank.

The surfaces on the outer deck were in bad shape all the way around the pool, and around the hot tub. But with local employees doing the work, and by purchasing materials from local and area businesses like Lowe's, the total price for getting the old, broken surfaces up, and new ones down, is going to run just a little over $3,000, Lawyer estimates.

“It's not cheap, but it's inexpensive,” Lawyer said. “They're getting it down for about a fifth of the cost.”

Make no mistake: Ssome of the Cain Center's youngest employees are doing the heavy lifting on this project. They also have to use a prying instrument to loosen up the old surface all the way down to the original concrete surface, before the new product can be put down.

But they were making good progress late in the week.

The Cain Center is currently open, with the exception of the pool. And depending on the humidity the next few days, it should be re-surfaced and ready for swimming by Tuesday or Wednesday, Lawyer said.

The Cain Center is open Monday, Labor Day, also.

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