Fairway Pool, off of Mission Road and 61st Street, is being rebuilt to accommodate more people due to increasing popularity. The pool is older than most pools in the area, it was built in 1957. The pool was designed to hold around 250 people per day, but, since 2013, the average has increased to 380 patrons per day.
“In May of 2014, the voters of Fairway approved a sales tax that will be used to pay for the [cost of the pool]. Anyone who patronizes [Fairway] business are paying a half a percent sales tax,” said Nathan Nogelmeier, Director of Parks and Recreation for Fairway.
The sales tax ended up raising enough money to rebuild the pool.
The new amenities will include a grass terrace, two family rooms, a larger snack bar and a multipurpose room. The biggest upgrade will be the zero depth pool, which feels like walking into the ocean as it gradually deepens. In addition to the zero depth area, which is built to comply with the American Disability Act, the new pool will include a bench used for swim lessons, a toddler slide, fountains that squirt out of the ground and dumping buckets.
The zero depth is the biggest upgrade to the pool and the first priority.
“We will make sure that the pool itself, the zero depth area is ready to go and we will make sure the bathrooms and the showers [are ready for the summer]” Nogelmeier said.
It will be big enough to host two events at once. Updates in the snack bar will be made as well like to improve the efficiency of the way the snack bar is run.
Although many improvements are being made, the pool entry fee will stay the same for the summer of 2015. After this year, the fees will be evaluated and the city will decide if there needs to be an increase or decrease. A change in pricing occurs every three years.
Sophomore Nora Engelken lives in Fairway and is a regular visitor to the pool. She is looking forward to the renovations.
“The new setup will more enjoyable and more accessible to people with a handicap or younger children. I think it will be a lot cleaner in general,” Engelken said.
Visitors of the pool are very anxious, like Engelken to see how the new pool will work since they have only seen the current version. Pool visitors would have to be around 65 or 70 years old to even remember the old pool.
Due to the improvements, there will need to be more people on the staff. According to Junior Lance Meng, a lifeguard at Fairway pool, the entry of the pool will also be bigger, which will require a lifeguard to be on duty to keep track of people coming in the pool.
The Fairway pool staff will be increased by four people. The lifeguards will be required to go through more training for the new stands being added have to learn different techniques because of the zero depth entry.
The project started a few weeks ago, but the weather is restricting the workers from staying on pace. If the winter is harsh and there is a lot of snow, then the finish date will pushed back even farther. The project could take anywhere from six to seven months. The construction is to be finished on May 15. If the snack bar doesn’t get done, then work will continue while the rest of the pool is open.
If everything stays on schedule, then the grand opening of the pool will be May 23, a week before school gets out.