Casper Aquatic Center shares roof repair plans

Published: Jul. 12, 2022 at 6:28 PM CDT
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CASPER, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - As Casper City Council continues to discuss potential allocations of One Cent funds, the Casper Aquatic Center gave a closer look at damages that they plan to fix if voters approve the fund and their request for funding is granted.

The problems were first identified after rusting was noticed along the perimeter of the indoor pool area. A structural engineer provided direction to the Aquatic Center, and a full investigation was undertaken.

“What we came to find is that we have rooftop issues. The vapor barrier on this roof was not connected all the way through, so it had some gaps on it, and moisture was getting through... Moisture was getting into our walls, was getting basically into the rafters and creating rust, which is now causing deterioration of our decking, which is the ceiling,” said Recreation Division Manager Phil Moya.

The investigation found the project, which includes replacing the roof, repairing the ceiling, and repairing a slide will cost approximately $1.9 million. Moya stated that right now, the roof is on the verge of failure.

“Right now they say structurally, the ceiling and the rooftop have enough integrity to be able to handle a normal weather condition, but if we were to get a large wind storm, out of the normal Casper wind, could very well tear up a section of the rooftop which exposes it to other weather conditions but could cause the facility to close for repair,” said Moya.

The rusting along the pool area ceiling has led to pieces of rust dropping onto the pool deck. According to Moya, no injuries have been reported from the rust, thanks in part to lifeguards keeping the deck clean and paying extra attention to rust-dropping areas.

“Right now we have a lot of rust areas that are not failing at all, they’re just exposed, and that’s why we’re doing what we’re doing. We have some areas that have failed and have fallen from the ceiling, but the lifeguards here monitor the facility very closely,” said Moya.

The potential for rusting and other issues to get worse is likely if the problem is not addressed. Currently, Moya says there is water leaking from the roof into the perimeter of the facility. The leaking not only affects the ceiling but could impact the brick walls as well. He said engineers have assessed the integrity of the brick and have not found issues, but that it is likely to be a problem if it is not addressed.

“My only concern or worry is that we don’t want it to get worse where we not only have to rust around the perimeter, but now it’s not only rusting, now it’s falling apart. Then we have pieces, it could potentially become larger pieces and we don’t want that,” said Moya.

The Aquatic Center has presented a project funding proposal to the City Council. They hope if the vote goes through, they will be approved to complete the repairs to continue providing the community with a year-round swimming option. In 2021, the center had 35,384 visits.

“What we’re trying to do is we’re looking at One Cent dollars to assist us to be able to continue providing a facility for the community to use and have fun with,” said Moya.

If funding is not sourced from Casper’s One Cent budget, the Aquatic Center will complete the project in phases. One concern Moya and others with the Recreation Division have is that a phased project will cost more and take longer to complete.

“If we phase it over a timespan of years, that will become a much more expensive project. Having to bring in contractors and then them leaving, and construction costs rising, hose dynamics will always be a problem,” said Moya.

Moya said that if they receive One Cent funding, they would likely close the Aquatic Center in the summer so that other pools and aquatic facilities would be open. The goal would be to complete the project in three to four months and re-open the facility in the fall or winter.

Natrona County’s Optional One Cent Tax allows for one cent to be taxed on every one dollar taxable purchase within the county. The tax has been supported for over 30 years. It is voted on every four years, in 2022 it has returned to the ballot.

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