WALLINGFORD — The Wallingford Family YMCA’s East Side Natatorium & Lap Pool Renovation Project will begin next week, taking about 16 to 20 weeks to complete.
In 2018, Sean Doherty, executive director of the Wallingford YMCA, said the organization applied for state bond funding to help with projects to renovate both the east side and west side facilities.
“We were able to get the state bonds in July of 2021 for $750,000 and we have also been raising funds for the last couple of years,” Doherty said. “We did put it on hold during COVID but we’ve been raising the funds for the last few years to do some updates for the YMCA.”
This particular project will total approximately $1.1 million, with the $750,000 state bond going toward the east side project. The state of Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development gave the YMCA permission to proceed with the bond money.
“That was kind of the culmination,” Doherty said. “It’s both a community gift, corporate gift and the state bonds, which was actually roughly about 75% of the project.”
In 2013, Doherty said the YMCA staff completed an instructional analysis regarding the east side’s pool wall as a precautionary measure.
“We have some dated glass blocks that need to be removed and replaced,” Doherty said. “So this whole project improves not only the natatorium wall itself and ceiling and any rust that’s accumulated over the years because it’s a chlorinated environment but it also addresses the pool shell itself, which is going to have new drainage and new piping, all new piping, new grouts, new filtration system. Just a lot of updates both on the deck as well as below the deck, which is in our filter room.”
The project has received support from local politicians, such as state Rep. Vincent Candelora, R-North Branford.
Candelora, the House minority leader, currently represents part of Wallingford, along with Durham, Guilford and North Branford.
“Regardless of where (the YMCA) is located within our districts, I think we recognize the regional impact that it has on youth and I think in particular coming out of COVID, organizations like the YMCA are so necessary to enrich our kids and assist them and assimilating them back into society,” said Candelora, who is running for re-election unopposed.
His district shifted south due to reapportionment last year. In the next term it will include part of East Haven, rather than Wallingford.
State Rep. Mary Mushinsky, D-Wallingford, said with the Wallingford community pool being closed, the YMCA is the only organization in town that is teaching children how to swim.
“They’ve got six different sessions and 300 kids per session, which is a lot, and they’re the main institution teaching swimming right now,” Mushinsky said.
Mushinsky’s opponent in the November 2022 election, Republican Kerry Lentz, did not respond for comment by the time of publication. Renovation process
Doherty said the pool renovations at the east side building will help the pool last the next “60, 70 to 100 years.” This pool was built in 1968, Doherty said.
“It’s not like it’s going to be a new facility or anything of that nature, but it’s going to look like a brand new pool system,” Doherty said.
On Monday, Oct. 17, the pool will be shut down for the duration of the renovation process, which could last 16 to 20 weeks. Wallingford Family YMCA members can use the Larry Hart Pool at Choate Rosemary Hall for morning lap swim purposes, some swim lessons and a swim team practice.
“We relocated pretty much about 70% of our lap pool space at Choate Rosemary Hall and working around their schedule,” Doherty said.
Doherty said the YMCA’s therapy pool will still be in use and the swim team will also be using Sheehan High School’s pool.
Along with the pool renovation, Doherty said the east side parking lot will be repaired and repaved from Oct. 24 to Oct. 28. YMCA members will be able to utilize other off-street parking. More information will be released in the upcoming week.
If members have any questions about the east side projects, they may reach out Doherty at firstname.lastname@example.org. Upcoming projects
Once the east side pool project is completed by the winter, Doherty wants to focus on the west side aquatic center project, which will include the construction of two pools.
Doherty said the price of the two pools would be close to $12 to $13 million. So far, the YMCA has close to $2 million for the project, including money from a $1 million state bond that was awarded earlier this year.
“They have some (federal) money pending also, which hopefully will be released,” Mushinsky said.
Due to the price of two pools, Doherty said the focus will be on raising money to fund one pool and then move on to fundraising for the second. The first pool will cost approximately $6.5 million.
Doherty said project bidding and start date will be dependent on fundraising success.
“If all can go well, we’re going to focus on accomplishing funding one pool first,” Doherty said. “... Basically see where it goes from there (and) continue to phase in the second pool.”