St. Clair Shores pool on track to open Memorial Day weekend

By: Alyssa Ochss | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published March 4, 2024

File photo


ST. CLAIR SHORES — In a 6-0 vote at their meeting on Feb. 20, the St. Clair Shores City Council approved a request to increase contingency costs for the pool pump house project.

Councilwoman Linda Bertges was excused from this meeting.

The St. Clair Shores pool is on schedule to open at 10 a.m. on May 25 this year. It is also fully staffed with lifeguards prior to March 1, according to Parks and Recreation Aquatics Manager Jason Harms.

An increase in contingency costs was recommended by Partners in Architecture in the amount of $44,509.46.

Harms said in an email that the contingency is a slight increase in costs “needed to correct problems that occurred during excavation work for the Pool Main Drain Replacement.”

Harms presented the item and also provided images showing the progress of construction on the pool. He explained when he previously came before the council that they came across cast iron piping and that the piping would be covered up by the new concrete they would be installing.

Harms said the recommendation from their pool consultant was to replace the piping with a pool side wall drain. The plan to replace the cast iron piping was brought to the City Council’s Nov. 20, 2023, meeting.

“As I expressed at council, one of the concerns we had was that by drilling through the side of the pool, since it is from 1966, that we could take a chance on collapsing the pool wall,” Harms said. “I’m pleased to inform you that we were successful in coring through the pool wall with no damage to the pool.”

He said that while they did that, they disturbed extra concrete, conduits for the pool lights and the electrical bonding wire that surrounds the pool.

“So the increase in contingency tonight is to deal with those issues, but again, we were successful in installing the pool side wall drains without any damage to the pool proper itself,” Harms said.

Mayor Kip Walby asked if they would need any more money for the pool after this. Harms said this contingency will close out the main drain portion of the pool, but they still have substantial funds and contingency dollars to deal with any remaining issues.

“But we are now inside the building and to date we’ve had to make no changes to the building construction,” Harms said.

Councilman Chris Vitale asked about the collapsed clay crock for the deck drainage.

“That’s not being replaced because that’s under concrete, correct, most of it?” Vitale asked.

Harms said they’re not replacing all of it, and that the sections where they had to take up the concrete is what they had to replace. Vitale asked if they could get a camera to look at the other sections of clay. Harms said they are going to have the sewer department do that inspection.

The pool experienced issues last summer which shut it down for multiple days at a time.

The request to replace the pool pump house was brought to the City Council’s July 17 meeting. The request included the equipment and the pool pump as well as the boiler and the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system.

“Antiquated equipment in the pool pump house has, in the recent past, caused the pool to be closed for weeks at a time,” the meeting minutes from July 17 stated. “Replacing the equipment is necessary to ensuring the pool is available for residents.”

Harms started his presentation after the vote by saying, if they had not ordered the needed equipment when they did in July, the equipment would not have arrived in time for the summer.

“We did good work by ordering them ahead of time,” Harms said.

Harms also said this is the first time in his 23-year career they’ve been fully staffed with lifeguards before March 1. He attributes the success to the diligent work of Assistant Aquatics Manager Jeremy Schelosky.

Walby also did not want to gloss over this fact.

“It’s a real positive,” Walby said. “It’s very tough, too, getting lifeguards.”

Harms added that other communities have reached out to them asking St. Clair Shores to send them any extra lifeguard applicants.

Councilman Ronald Frederick, after the presentation, asked if there are safety features for the three intakes. Harms said the suction is pulling from three different places.

“And it’s not so intense where someone is going to get lodged against the grate,” Harms said.

Harms also said the water in the pool is now turned over every four hours instead of every eight hours, as it previously was.

“So throughout our working day and throughout the usage of the pool that water (is) being filtered when people are in it every four hours,” Harms said. “Which is fantastic for clarity and health of the water.”

St. Clair Shores City Councilman Dave Rubello commended Harms for his hard work in letting council know about the needed repairs.

“I think you do a wonderful job, and your communication is, at least in my eyes, is perfect,” Rubello said.