McDermott Pool is set for a spring cleaning, as well as minor renovations, after the council approved a bid for $23,000 for epoxy floor coating, a durable and tough resin spread resistant to moisture, chemicals and wear for the locker rooms. To make the improvement, funds were reallocated from other line items within the department’s budget for this year.
According to Thayer Arena/McDermott Pool Facilities Manager Jim Dorney, the pool was scheduled to close for semi-annual maintenance in September, but instead will be closed the last week of May and remain closed through June. It is set to reopen July 1. During this time, staffers will conduct the normal semi-annual work, such as draining and cleaning the pool, plus painting parts of the facility. The locker room floors will be attended to, as well.
“I don’t want to close on people twice,” Dorney said during a phone interview, noting that they will also install a heat exchanger they recently acquired. “Everything is going to get done when we are closed.”
Being closed during the summer might initially sound problematic in terms of revenue, as children are in school for a few weeks in June and most of September, but Dorney said he doesn’t anticipate it being an issue. No matter what, the pool needs to close for maintenance at some point.
“Whether it is June or September, the kids are in school and the official swim season is over, so six in one, half dozen in the other I would say,” Dorney said. “[The] problem is we can’t do anything like this and remain open, as we have to make sure patrons can shower before and after swimming.”
Dorney went on to say that McDermott serves thousands of people on a yearly basis, with more than 600 people having annual passes. The facility offers open swim hours for adults and children, as well as a variety of recreational programs. It hosts swim competitions for all four local high schools and is the satellite location for meets through the Kent County YMCA.
Additionally, Envious Swimming, a U.S. swim club, often uses the pool, as does the Attleboro Bluefish, a swim club in Massachusetts, since McDermott houses one of the few 50-meter pools in the area.
“It’s a very popular place,” Dorney said. “It seems like swimming really took an upturn with Michael Phelps in the Olympics. We started getting some really good numbers, especially with organized swimming.”
He said Thayer is popular, too, as it will host the Providence Roller Derby for the second year in a row. Double-header games, which begin at 6 p.m. with doors opening at 5, will take place May 18, June 8 and July 13.
“They are a blast,” Dorney said of the games.
For more information about McDermott Pool and Thayer Arena, visit www.WarwickRI.gov.