The ventilation system at the Riverside-Brookfield High School swimming pool has never been quite up to the job since the new swimming pool was built as part of the renovation and expansion of the high school a few years ago.
It has been either not powerful or large enough to move the air fast enough to it free of a distinct chorine smell, which has bothered some swimmers and has apparently caused some premature rusting of metal equipment. Sometimes the fan has not worked at all. Various fixes have tried so far, but none have really worked.
For a time it looked as if the school would sue someone over the failings of the system.
But after a summer of negotiation and frank discussion all parties seem to be finally working together. The high school; Soresco, the manufacturer of the ventilation system; Wight & Company, the architectural firm that led the renovation; 2010, the engineering firm that installed the system; and McHugh, the construction firm that oversaw the entire renovation and expansion, now seem to agree on improvements to make this fall to see if air flow can be improved.
Last year a group of parents concerned about poor air quality at the pool hired the consulting firm Environ Corporation to do a study of the natatorium. The findings of that report are going to be used to make improvements to the ventilation system.
“We’re in the final stages of working out an agreement with Wight & Company to make some modification to the design to improve the air flow in the pool,” District 208 Superintendent Kevin Skinkis said.
Skinkis said that the repairs that RBHS will pay for will cost the district around $4,000. He said that he hopes the work will be done sometime in the next couple of months.
“We still have some things that we’re trying to work out, but we’re hoping that this thing can be wrapped up this fall,” Skinkis.
At one time it appeared that District 208 might sue or at least threaten to sue Wight or Soresco, but now all the parties seem to be working together. After some tough talk and blame shifting, everyone seems to be on the same page.
“At this point in time Wight & Co. has been really receptive to our concerns and has been collaborative in working with us,” Skinkis said.
Skinkis says the pool remains safe for swimmers to use. The girls swimming season has just begun and practices are being held at the pool.
“The pool is still being used as we speak,” Skinkis said last week. “It’s not inhabitable. It’s safe to be in there, to be swimming there. It’s just that we would like to improve the air flow in there and improve the air quality so that there’s not such a strong chorine smell.”