Portales pool opens today

By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor

Portales Municipal Pool patrons are sure to notice a few changes as they get ready to dive in at the local swimming hole this summer.
With school letting out at noon today, the pool officially opens an hour later at 1 p.m.

Phase I of renovations at the pool were completed in mid-April by Nixon Construction, about a month ahead of deadline, said Georgia Gonzales, capital projects manager for the city of Portales. The items tackled in the $130,000 first phase were immediate maintenance issues and items needed to bring the pool up to code with some carry-over for the design of Phase II, she said.

“We were done a month in advance,” Gonzales said. “Even with the three or four days it rained, we were done well before the deadline.”

Gonzales says the most noticeable change at the pool is the bright new aqua blue paint on the deck and the new paint inside the pool itself. Nixon sandblasted several coats of paint off the surfaces and repainted this spring.

The fence between the diving well and the main pool was also changed, getting rid of the metal fencing and replacing it with soft netting and buoys. Stainless steel screens were also added in the pump area.

Pool manager Clay Hawk said he and assistant managers Linda Young and Gary Carter have things ready to go today. The staff of approximately 19 is hired and trained with five to six veteran lifeguards returning this summer.

“The only big thing that is different (this year) is our baby pool won’t be open,” Hawk said. He said code issues made closure the best alternative until a new pool is designed and completed in the next few years.
In public meetings city staff has expressed the desire for what’s known as a zero-entry pool redesign (a pool that tapers gradually and is child friendly). Actual design work on Phase II, which could be a completely new pool or a remodel of the existing pool hasn’t started yet, Gonzales said.

Phase I, partially funded by a 2006 legislative grant, cost $130,000. The 2007 legislature approved $100,000 toward Phase II.
Hawk said early in the summer the pool will see between 200 and 400 people per day.
“It’s heaviest in the beginning, then it tapers off,” Hawk said. “Once school is out they (children) all want to go to the pool.”