Recast aquatic center receiving rave reviews

Don’t be too worried if you head to the remodeled Olympic Aquatic Center and find yourself asking, “Is it just me, or does the water seem more blue?”

You’re not alone.

The retiling of the OAC pool was one of several improvements made to the facility this past summer, upgrading many areas that the pool needed most. And according to Patti Matthew, pool manager and CK swim coach, the changes, while significant, are just the beginning.

“We’re hoping to do a few more things,” Matthew said. “Probably in the year to come.”

But first, Matthew just wants to enjoy the changes made while the pool was closed from June 6 to Sept. 21.

Upon entering, the first big change is immediately noticeable — the addition of two 8-foot by 36-foot skylights set in place above the pool. In addition to adding much better, and more natural lighting, the skylights have added an unforeseen aspect to training as well.

“I just like having those skylights,” Matthew said. “In the morning when I’m here, one of my lap swimmers said, ‘I can see myself.’”

The floor of the pool was also jackhammered out, replaced with a series of white and blue patterned tiles. In the warm-up section of the pool, the Central Kitsap School District logo is tiled into the flooring.

The walls were all repainted and a family changing room was added off the main lobby.

The changing room includes a handheld shower and changing station.

The viewable changes have left observers more than satisfied.

“Everybody that’s come in just is so amazed at how clean it looks,” Matthew said. “And it does, it looks really nice. The plaster part in it is kind of a pearly blue. It gives it a nice tint.”

Carol Tyree-Dewell, Klahowya girls swimming coach, was very pleased.

“Oh look at this beautiful pool,” Tyree-Dewell said. “It’s a very nice facility.”

Olympic swim coach Paul Henderson said he was definitely pleased with the pool’s new look, but echoed Matthew in saying more work lies ahead.

“The tile work in the water looks really nice,” Henderson said. “It’s just a cleaned up, pretty pool. It looks really nice. There’s still some things to be worked on.”

Another change that isn’t visible, but is certainly noticeable, is the OAC’s new ventilation system, designed to help regulate temperatures in the pool and around it.

“It’s one of these state-of-the-art ventilation systems, similar to what North Kitsap has,” Matthew said. “It sucks off air from the pool and gets put out all over and the stuff that normally gets burnt up, that’s gone. It’s a great new ventilation system.”

The upgrades also involved changes in the pool’s pump room, including new pumps, water filters and a new Chemtrol system, monitoring and regulating the status of the pool at all times.

Of those changes, Matthew said it was about time the filters were replaced.

“They completely took out the old filters that were very sorry specimens,” she said.

The doors to everything but Matthew’s office and the building exterior are also being refinished. The bleachers were revarnished and some general touch up painting was done to both the interior and exterior of the building. Pipes and valves were replaced, the bulkhead was repainted and patch concrete work was done on the pool deck.

Costs for the project were largely paid for by Puget Sound Energy grants the district was able to receive.

District’s costs fell to just $31,665.95 specifically for the pool improvements, while another $60,000 was added for the pool and other miscellaneous improvements at Olympic High School, according to a recent CKSD memo and change order form.

Richard Best, the director of Construction, Facilities and Maintenance for CKSD, and George Kevins, who also works in the same department, were largely responsible, Matthew said.

“I am so grateful to them,” Matthew said. “(Best) had the foresight to really dedicate himself to this project. I’m just excited that the district cared enough to make this pool.”

About the only hitch thus far came when it was noticed some tiling work will need to be redone. But Orca Pacifica, the subcontractor that did the tile work, is redraining and retiling the needed areas at its own cost.

Matthew was also pleased with Drury Construction Company, the main contractor.

“I think the thing I was most impressed with was it didn’t matter what time I came in here,” Matthew said. “They were always busy. You could tell that they were really — yeah, I was impressed. I just

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