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Oakwood YMCA pool project underway

Organization begins on 1st of 3 renovation phases

POSTED: May 28, 2013 12:07 a.m.

J.A. Walters YMCA Oakwood pool manager Grier Rogers moves pool furniture as the newly configured pool gets prepared for its opening.

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Fueled by a $10,000 donation, the Georgia Mountains YMCA is moving to improve its swimming pool at the Oakwood branch, including plans to add a bubblelike enclosure for cold-weather months.

Officials have started on the first of three phases, just as the YMCA gears up for the pool’s busy summer months.

Work has involved setting up lanes in the pool for competitive swimming.

“It sounds pretty easy and we thought it would be,” said Rich Gallagher, the YMCA’s president and CEO at an Oakwood City Council meeting earlier this month, “but it has turned into rocket science.

“Every time that we get the pool taken care of — pressure-washed and ready to go — Mother Nature rains on us. We’ve been fighting the elements.”

The second phase of work involves putting in heaters, which will extend the season for competitive swimming, or Swim Team.

“That’s really why we’re doing this pool project,” Gallagher said. “We really believe this will extend our services to the community and do something that this area desperately needs.”

The YMCA’s website states that swimming is the second-most-popular exercise activity in the U.S. Some 2.5 million young people participate in competitive swimming, with most being introduced to the sport through summer swim leagues.

The nonprofit organization is teaming up with Lanier Aquatics, which offers year-round training at the Frances Meadows Aquatic Center in Gainesville, to provide the service, Gallagher said.

The third phase of improvements is the removable, inflatable enclosure, which would enable indoor swimming when the weather is cold.

“We’re hoping that by the end of the summer season, going into the fall, we can (install) the heater and the bubble,” said Jon Poole, Oakwood YMCA program director.

Before the YMCA opened the Oakwood branch in January 2012, the organization operated the pool on behalf of the city.

People who don’t belong to the YMCA can still enjoy the pool with a $3 daily admission. YMCA members, including those who visit the main branch in Gainesville, don’t have to pay admission.

The pool will be open to the public in the afternoon hours, with the mornings reserved for swimming lessons and Swim Team, Poole said.


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