PORT ANGELES — Shore Aquatic Center will reopen for swimming Saturday after a 17-month closure for a major expansion.
The new-look pool will be unveiled at an open house from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday.
“It’s been a long time coming,” said Executive Director Steve Burke, who began working on the $20 million project in 2016.
The former William Shore Memorial Pool closed in May 2019 for an expansion that doubled the size of the aquatic center at 225 E. Fifth St.
Initially, the 30,000-square-foot pool will operate at a 50-person capacity due to COVID-19 precautions. The pool was designed for more than 300 swimmers.
State rules for COVID-19 now limit the pool’s capacity to 91.
“We’re going to start at 50 and kind of see how we do, and then slowly raise it as we feel comfortable that we can maintain distancing and all of the rules,” Burke said in a Wednesday interview.
Dr. Allison Unthank, Clallam County health officer, has said it is safe to swim in public pools as long as the facility follows COVID-19 safety guidance.
In-person registrations, which began Wednesday, are required to make a reservation for swimming at Shore Aquatic Center.
“The state’s requiring us to have them register in person,” Burke said.
Beginning Saturday, blocks of swimming will be available from 10 a.m. to noon, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.
“As soon as you register, then you can reserve online for those sessions, or blocks,” Burke said.
General admission prices are $6 for adults, $3.50 for youth, seniors and veterans, and $12 for a family. Annual memberships are $350 for adults, $205 for youth, seniors and veterans, and $485 for a family.
There are four bodies of water in the new aquatic center: a six-lane lap pool with a dive tank, a wellness pool for exercise classes, an activity pool with a lazy river and a spa.
The lap pool will kept at about 79 degrees, down from the 83-degree temperature of the former pool. The wellness and activity pools will be kept at 88 degrees, and the spa will be a balmy 104 degrees.
The four pools contain a combined 330,000 gallons of water, up from 200,000 gallons in the former pool.
The public is invited to a community walk-through of Shore Aquatic Center during the open house from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Friday.
“You’ll be able to see all of what we built going through the pool deck and also the mechanical rooms, the locker rooms, everything,” Burke said.
The reopening was originally planned for June before the coronavirus delayed construction. A subsequent reopening date Oct. 3 was scratched because of an electrical issue.
Port Angeles city code required the lights above the pools to be on a ground fault interrupter, or GFI, for an added measure of safety, Burke said.
“They don’t make a GFI for those kind of lights, so we had to figure out a way to get GFIs on them, and it just took a while to order the things that we needed,” Burke said.
“It just took a little bit of time before we found the right parts to be able to do that.”
Burke said he was “very excited” to see the project come to fruition.
For information on Shore Aquatic Center, click on sacpa.org.
Reporter Rob Ollikainen can be reached at [email protected].