WALLINGFORD — After months of renovation, the Wallingford Family YMCA’s East Side Natatorium & Lap Pool will be opening for public use starting Monday at 5 a.m.
Sean Doherty, executive director, said members have been informed how to register for lap swimming purposes.
“All of the programs and services are also back in play,” Doherty said.
Part of the swim team will be back to using the pool, along with water aerobics classes, lap swimming and swim lessons. The therapy pool will also be in use.
In 2018, the organization applied for state bond funding to help with projects to renovate both the east side and west side facilities. This particular project totaled approximately $1.1 million, with a $750,000 state bond going toward the east side project.
Doherty said YMCA members may not necessarily see all of the work that was done to the pool as some work had to be done to the piping, the filtration system, the chlorinating unit and the drains.
Along with that, Doherty said new windows were installed, the exit doors were replaced and the ceiling and walls were repainted.
“Rest assured this pool is going to be intact and ready to go for the next 60 years and that’s what the most important thing is,” Doherty said. “It’s brighter, the water filtration system is a huge improvement of what we had before and we’re excited to bring members back at the end of the day. This was definitely a needed project.”
The project was advocated for by local politicians, such as state Rep. Mary Mushinsky, D-Wallingford.
“The Y has continually improved its old and heavily used East Side Campus, and they are the main provider of swimming skills in Wallingford, which is so important for public safety,” Mushinsky said.
Rep. Liz Linehan was also an advocate. Linehan, D-Cheshire, is a member of the legislature’s Water Safety Task Force and co-chair of the Committee on Children.
“Water safety has been a big priority for me since 2017,” Linehan said.
Linehan added that this project coincides with the $1.5 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) administered by the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) to offer free swim lessons to qualifying children in the state at participating YMCAs. The Wallingford Family YMCA is one of these participants.
According to the Wallingford YMCA’s website, “participants must be aged 17 or under AND meet ONE of the following criteria: be eligible for SNAP benefits or eligible for benefits through the Department of Social Services; or be recommended to the program by a State Agency or Pupil Service on behalf of the Board of Education.”
Doherty said that on Feb. 8, information will be sent out to potential DEEP participants with the swim lessons schedule, with registration opening on Feb. 10 for the DEEP Participant Interest List. The registration for DEEP Participant List closes on Feb. 18.
The Spring 1 swim session guide will be sent out to the public on Feb. 13. On Feb. 19, DEEP participants can register for Spring 1 lessons. Then on Feb. 20, the registration for swim lessons will be open to all.
“With the lap pool reopening, and area children receiving life saving swim lessons, the YMCA continues to be an incredible asset for residents of all ages,” Linehan said. Next project
Doherty said the next project is focusing on the locker rooms at the East Side building. The design and the timeline for the locker room project is in progress.
“We’re trying to coordinate that we’ll have at least one gender locker room open at the same time, so we have five locker rooms — the girls, the boys, the family locker room and the men and the women,” Doherty said. “Each one of those locker rooms will be renovated over the next roughly 12 months to complete.”
The boys and girls locker rooms will be up and running during the summer, Doherty said.
There is some minor work going on right now, Doherty said. The website states that the men’s locker room steam room is out of service until further notice. Along with that, pool access from the girls locker room will need to go through the hallway and stairs. The big work will begin in the next four weeks.
“At the end of the day, we’re still developing the final scope of work, but we’re setting our sights on new lockers and new amenities and new vanities,” Doherty said.
The overall locker room project will take longer than normal because the work has to be sequenced so the YMCA can still provide facilities for the members.
“It’s going to be a longer project than if we shut down and reopened,” Doherty said.
The work at the East Side needs to be done prior to building an aquatics facility at the West Side building, which will include the construction of two pools.
“We needed to fix first what we had prior to building our new aquatic center at the West Side facility, which is still a dream for us and a mission for us,” Doherty said.