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YMCA undergoing $160,000 renovations on aquatics center
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Joel Ortiz and Jesus Garcia, contractors with Tri-State Waterproofing, remove sections of concrete from the steam room Friday at J. A. Walters Family YMCA in Gainesville. The renovations are expected to cost around $160,000. - photo by Erin O. Smith

The J.A. Walters Family YMCA in Gainesville has begun an estimated $160,000 in repairs to its aquatics center.

Work started Thursday at the Howard Road location, where CEO Amy Kienle said the center is resurfacing all three pools and the deck.

The center is also resealing and retiling its steam room.

“We were starting to have some moisture come both through the tile and then also back through the concrete wall into the locker rooms,” Kienle said.

Kienle said the whole renovation has an expected budget of $160,000, with a capital contribution from Springer Mountain Farms.

“The largest, No. 1 price tag is the resurfacing of the deck,” she said. “That’s about $75,000 alone.”

On Friday, the fan favorite slide was being retouched with paint in addition to some rust abatement. As a safety measure, the center removed a wall between the two main pools and the whirlpool near the steam room.

“We know that medical events can occur very quickly,” Kienle said. “We do serve a large senior population, so we want to do everything we can to ensure their safety while they’re here.”

The center estimated a gain of some 600 new people joining the YMCA in January. Hall County School partner with the YMCA for swim lessons, teaching students from Wauka Mountain Elementary, Lula Elementary and Riverbend Elementary. The next crop of students is expected in April.

While the aquatics center is under renovations, Brenau University has offered free use of its pools for YMCA members. Hours of availability and more information can be found at

Kienle said she expects the work to be done in four weeks.

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