Ewing School pool renovation almost done

From the reaction so far, a new pool project has turned out, well, swimmingly.

After three months of construction, Ewing School has a new pool and renovated building where it has been since the original installation three decades ago.

The pool not only benefits the students that attend Ewing and their families, but also the multitude of outside groups who come to use the pool for private functions as well as open swim sessions.

Ewing School serves 95 preschool and school-age children at Ewing and 88 infants and toddlers younger than age 3 during in-home visits. In-home visits focus on teaching the parents about childhood development.

One of the community groups that uses the pool often is a class of folks with arthritis. They use the pool twice weekly for exercise sessions.

Bev Heddleson, 67, of Caldwell, is a member of that arthritis group. She said she likes the non-slip bottom and floor of the locker room and pool deck.

“You can move a lot better because of the water,” Huddleson said. “It doesn’t hurt the joints to move.”

Heddleson said between the two sessions each week, the water gives her enough relief to last her all week.

The $164,455 project included painting of the inside shell of the pool area, installation of a new, non-slip floor product and a new pool liner and gutter system, said Susan Tilton, superintendent of the Washington County Board of Developmental Disabilities and Ewing School.

In fact, the annual Broughton Ice Cream Social raised $19,000 for the pool project in 2011.

Tilton said the original liner was found to have hundreds of pinholes from the bed of pebbles and dirt under the liner. From all the holes, the pool was losing several inches of water – a significant amount. That sparked the debate about whether to weld a new floor in or replace the liner. Based on the cost and ease of maintenance, the board decided to go with the liner.

“Once you dig into something of that magnitude, you don’t know what you’ll find,” Tilton said.

David Haught, of DLH Design, of Marietta, designed the new pool and pool area for Ewing School.

Haught said the biggest challenge for the project was the timing of all the construction to avoid interference with the operation of the school as well a coordinating the contractors for each phase of the construction, such as painting, pool liner and gutter system.

“The project was cut and dry,” Haught said. “The nature of the project was the most economic and cost efficient way to remedy the problems, and to be the least detrimental to the schedule and use of the building.”

Ewing’s aquatics specialist, Nicole Hill, 34, of Marietta, has been with the school for 3 1/2 years.

“The zero entry is great for everyone,” Hill said of the ramp. “You don’t have to use the two ladders or climb over the side of the pool.”

Donna and Howard Wagner, 74 and 77, respectively, of Lowell, love the new pool area and they also attend the arthritis class. Donna said her husband has rheumatoid arthritis and the pools sessions give him temporary relief.

“It’s soothing,” Donna said. “It helps me sleep better at night. It sort of relaxes you.”

The maintenance staff at Ewing still is tweaking the pool pump and awaiting some parts to be shipped. Once that is finished, the pool should be crystal clear in time for students to come back on Aug. 26.

“So, we’re hoping for another 30 years,” Tilton said.