MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. - For the first time in nearly a decade, Mount Vernon High School’s pool is open for business.
Schools Superintendent Kenneth Hamilton was joined by Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow - who was instrumental in getting the pool reopened - celebrated the grand reopening of the pool on Monday morning with a ceremonial ribbon cutting to let the community know that its doors are open.
In 2010, the pool at the high school was forced to be shut down when a leak was discovered in the facility during a routine inspection. In the following years, various issues with the project and budget restraints have prevented district officials from making necessary repairs to make it a safe destination for swimmers.
As a result, “the pool fell out of compliance with current state and county regulations governing aquatic facilities,” Pretlow said when announcing he secured a $1 million grant for repairs. “The grant will provide the much-needed capital to make the necessary repairs to bring the pool into compliance with all the applicable rules and regulations.”
“After being closed for most of a decade, the reopening of the Mount Vernon High School pool is a momentous occasion, not just for our students and administration but for the community,” Hamilton stated. “This aquatic facility will provide Mount Vernon residents with year-round access to a pool where they can receive instructional lessons and engage in recreational activities.”
Pretlow noted that having a clean, compliant pool open to the community is especially significant and important in a city as diverse as Mount Vernon.
“The reopening of the pool is a significant event for the city of Mount Vernon and the school district because, according to a 2010 study commissioned by the United States Swimming and Research Corner, 70 percent of African American children and 60 percent of Hispanic children have very little to no swimming ability, compared to 40 percent of Caucasians, putting these communities at risk for drowning fatalities,” he stated.
“Every student deserves a well-rounded education with access to quality resources and facilities,” Pretlow added. “This project shows our commitment to physical education and will increase opportunities for the community.”
According to school officials, "renovating the Mount Vernon High School pool was a priority for the district, but the funding secured by Pretlow accelerated the plan, which consisted of three phases and had an estimated completion date of Dec. 1." In addition to student use, the District also plans to provide free year-round swimming lessons to Mount Vernon residents and offer training programs for students interested in serving as lifeguards.
During the first phase of the pool renovation project, electrical upgrades were made to support a new filtration system and the existing main drains within the pool, overhead pool lights, and pool cover system were removed and replaced with new, more efficient equipment. Additionally, a pool lane timer was installed to accommodate competitions.
The final phase of renovations included the installation of a new concrete shell in the shallow end of the pool to prevent future leaks, as well as a new floor slab. The entire pool area was reinforced with rebar, creating additional support and rigidity for the new floor. Additionally, tile was used to create break lines and lane markings, while marble-dust plaster was used for the remainder of the pool surface.
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