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Why Tice Creek pool roof panels are not yet repaired

By Sam Richards

Staff Writer

 

(Wednesday. Dec. 13, 2023, 1:30pm) GRF officials hope that work to replace the old yellowing panels above Tice Creek Fitness Center swimming pool, and the associated equipment needed to open and close those roof panels, can begin in late January, when permits from the city of Walnut Creek to do the work are expected to be in hand.

In the meantime, one of the old panels is stuck in the “open” position, meaning rain and cold air can readily get in, making the pool area colder than some swimmers would like.

Ann Mottola, GRF’s director of community services, said that until permits are approved to install the new motors and gears needed to open and close the roof panels, the one panel will have to remain open.

“It’s more responsible to do it right than to just push it through,” Mottola said. Invoking the TV character known for solving mechanical issues with whatever materials are available at the moment, “The worst thing would be to ‘Mac-Gyver’ a solution – we can’t take any risks. “It’s better people swim in discomfort a little while longer,” she said.

Putting a tarp over the open window had been considered, she added, but there isn’t a solid enough structure on the roof to which a tarp can be safely attached.

There originally had been two panels stuck open; one of them was eventually moved manually into closed position, but the other panel has defied efforts to close it, Mottola said.

The original plan was for the replacement of the old polycarbonate panels above the pool to begin this past Aug. 1. That work was also to include replacing the aging motors that allow the retractable panels to open and close, and the tracks that the windows slide on when opening and closing. Then the permitting issues presented themselves.

The city permit would specifically approve the structural integrity of the various roof panel components, including the motors and gears, Mottola said. The relatively complicated nature of the panels, motors, gears and tracks, and that all of those components are above an inhabited swimming pool, make this permit approval more difficult than some other permits.

Several swimmers interviewed last week said they weren’t overly concerned about getting the roof closed immediately.

“We’re in California, not the Midwest … It’s not that cold here, and the water is heated,” said Dan Rogers as he emerged from his thrice-weekly, 20-minute swim. “Even if it was raining, it would probably be lovely. It wouldn’t bother me a bit.”

Jim Fletcher, another threetimes- a-week Tice pool swimmer, said he’s glad the roof panel work will be done, but that one open panel doesn’t make much difference to him.

“I’ve got other places to swim, and there are plenty of other ways to exercise here at the Fitness Center,” Fletcher said.

Abha Gupta also said the open roof panel hasn’t been a problem for her.

“I’m here every day, and it’s no problem,” she said.

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