When officials at Fort Valley State University set out to make a few minor renovations to an on-campus pool in 2009, they found their problem was deeper than they first realized, leading to potential renovation costs of $500,000.
At that point, plans were under way to install anti-entrapment drain covers in an Olympic-sized swimming pool at the university’s Health and Physical Education Complex to comply with federal guidelines, as well as sandblasting a nontoxic stain on the surface of the pool.
During that process, staff members found a leak in the pool, which was eventually closed in July 2009, said Dwayne Crew, associate director of business and finance.
More than a year later, the pool is still closed. Students from Fort Valley State, as well as local high schools, have had to go elsewhere to swim and hold athletic meets.
Never miss a local story.
An engineer with Geotechnical & Environmental Consultants, a consulting firm with offices in Macon, Atlanta, Columbus and LaGrange, performed an evaluation on the pool on June 30, according to documents provided to The Telegraph by school officials.
In that evaluation, seven core concrete samples were taken from the bottom of the pool, and the engineer looked at the conditions below the pool.
Almost all of those concrete samples were constructed with a thickness of fewer than 12 inches, the minimum expected thickness of the concrete layer of the bottom of the pool, the report said.
In one sample, the thickness of the sample was 3¼ inches at its thinnest point. Only one of the samples taken in the evaluation complied with the design plans, at 15½ inches at its thickest point.
Ultimately, the report concludes that soft soil areas found near cracks in some of the samples, as well as the bottom of the pool not being constructed to design specifications caused hairline fractures to form at the bottom of the pool.
Repairs to the pool will be more than administrators previously projected. While officials had originally allocated $100,000 for engineering and other costs, the required changes may reach five times that amount, said Crew.
Depending on the extent of the damage, the pool may have to be completely pulled apart and rebuilt, said Crew.
“That’s where the half-million comes in,” he said.
School officials had previously hoped to finish renovations by June, but now, there is no set timetable on when that will happen, with state funding cuts playing a factor into when the repairs will be completed.
Crew said the general contractor for the building is no longer in business, and administrators are currently trying to reach subcontractors to plan the next course of action.
The Health and Physical Education Complex was completed in 2004 after years of construction and funding delays, according to Telegraph archives.
Stanley Love-Stanley was chosen as the facility’s architect, and Fortson-based DE/TE Builders was given charge of the building’s construction.
A woman who answered the phone number listed for DE/TE Builders said it was now the point of contact for another business, John Teeples Construction. Attempts to reach the owner were unsuccessful.
To contact writer Andrea Castillo, call 256-9751.