The Vale pool will open for the summer Wednesday. (The Enterprise/Rachel Parsons).

VALE – City residents will be splishing and splashing for free this Wednesday at the Vale City Pool.

City Manager Russ Kirkpatrick said last week the popular local venue will open for the summer after more than a week of repair work to fix a broken pipe that delivers hot water from the geothermal wells southeast of town.

 “I have been racing to get this thing open,” said Kirkpatrick Friday.

Kirkpatrick said the city will cover costs for all swimmers Wednesday.

The pool has been shuttered because of state COVID-19 restrictions and reopens under certain restrictions. For example, swimmers must maintain physical distancing of at least six feet and the pool must post signs listing COVID-19 symptoms and how to stop the spread of the virus. All staff at the pool – including lifeguards – will be required to wear a mask. COVID-19 guidance from the state also requires pool staff to clean and disinfect work areas “high-traffic areas, and commonly touched surfaces in areas accessed by staff and visitors, including counters, tables, lounge chairs handrails, door handles, showers, pool toys and other commonly touched surface.”

Hand sanitizer must also be available for staff and visitors.

Kirkpatrick said reopening the pool wasn’t as simple as unlocking the doors. That’s because the geothermal water line continued to break.

City crews, he said, discovered one leak in the line and fixed that.

“And then it broke again inside the pool house, under two feet of concrete,” said Kirkpatrick.

Kirkpatrick said the city reached out to three contractors, received two price quotes to fix the new break but found the quotes for the work to be too expensive.

“They ranged from $5,000 to $10,000 to fix it,” said Kirkpatrick.

That’s when the city’s public works crew stepped in, said Kirkpatrick.

“My guys thought outside the box. They came and got me and said ‘Boss, this is what we are proposing. We are going to abandon that line, come outside, start a new line and go in underground and come up the pool wall on the outside so we don’t go through several feet of concrete,’” said Kirkpatrick.

He said the public works crews finished the new work only to watch the line break again.

“So, the inlet where it broke, got that fixed and turned it on and then it broke,” said Kirkpatrick.

The crews, though, repaired the water inlet valve Friday and the city has been heating the pool since.

Pool manager Jodi Sharp said a ribbon cutting ceremony to mark the opening of the pool is set for 12:30 p.m. Wednesday in front of the facility. The public, she said, is invited.

Sharp said this week the pool will be open Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 1 to 4:45 p.m. for open swim and 5 to 6 p.m. for lap swim. The pool will also offer open swim from 6 to 8 p.m. this week.

Beginning June 22, the pool will switch to a fixed schedule that includes swimming lessons.

The summer schedule going forward will be: lap swim from 6 to 7 a.m.; aerobics from 7 to 8 a.m. and swim lessons from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Maintenance will be completed every day from noon to 1 p.m. followed by open swim from 1 p.m. to 4:45 p.m.; lap swim and aerobics from 5-6 p.m.; and open swim from 6-8 p.m. each weekday. The pool will offer open swim Saturday from 1-4:45 p.m. and 6-8 p.m.

The pool is closed Sundays.

Sharp said she is still working out a firm schedule for swim lessons.

Admission to the pool for youth aged 2 and under is free and $4 for age 3 and up.

The price for evening open swim is $3 and lap swim costs $3. Day care services are $2 per child per hour, said Sharp.

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