Pool project at MCC is nearing completion

The staff at the Monticello Community Center has Saturday, Dec. 1 clearly marked on the event planning calendar.
That’s the reopening date for the pool and expanded fitness center.
A morning celebration will mark the occasion, said Kitty Baltos, community center director.
“We are beyond glad,” she said. “We’ve been ready for weeks.”
Activities during the 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. event include free child swim lesson level assessments, an adult swim stroke refinement clinic, obstacle course ribbon-cutting in the fitness area, health and fitness presentation, breakfast samples from Cargill Kitchen Solutions, ribbon cutting down the waterslide and pictures taken with a real mermaid and coin dives in the pool. Baltos said one of the last steps remaining before the big event was filling the 89,000 gallon pool.
“It takes us a few days to fill the pool, heat the water and balance off the chemicals,” Baltos said last week. The pool filling was set for Monday or Tuesday. Cargill Kitchen Solutions will donate fun finger foods for breakfast during the Dec. 1 event, and Health It Up will offer protein shake samples, Baltos said.
The 8 a.m. adult swim stroke refinement clinic will be led by two of the center’s instructors, Baltos said. A center fitness instructor also will provide tips about health and fitness, and visitors will be able to ask questions about the new fitness area space. The swim lesson assessment for kids will start at 10 a.m. followed by the ribbon cutting for the fitness center between 10 and 10:30 a.m. Participants will have to go through a real obstacle course to reach the ribbon-cutting area. “We are going to let people vote and tell us who they think might win,” Baltos said. “We are going to try and make it fun. We couldn’t convince Mayor Clint Herbst to be the first one down the slide, so we are going to pick one of the kids from the Pool of Gold dive as the first one to take the plunge.”
Baltos said it’s been unfortunate the pool and fitness center have been closed for so long, but people have really understood, excited and patient.
“We are very, very grateful for that,” she said. “We’ve been using the Monticello Middle School pool for lap swim times And the Super 8 has allowed us to do water aerobics and open swim at their pool.” Baltos said the Monticello Community Center Advisory Board was scheduled to meet this week for a final update.
Improvements in the pool area of the community center to include the following changes: Upsizing the air handling equipment; remodeling the south wall of the pool to be more energy efficient and repairing some areas that have shown some rust, namely the doors and door frames, the ceiling and top of the pool slide.
During construction, the city expanded the current fitness center by approximately 1,800 square feet in the area adjacent to the current fitness center space.
“The mechanical system that they put in is quite impressive,” she said. “Brian Weldon, our maintenance supervisor did a lot of research, and I feel that we have a facility that will take us well into the future.”
Weldon missed his 11th overall pool refilling, Baltos said, because his daughter was getting married.
“We are happy to get our [other] staff back to work,” Baltos said. The pool has between 35 and 40 staff members between the lifeguards, the water safety instructors who teach swim lessons and the water slide attendants.
“When we knew how long the pool was going to be closed, not only were we concerned for our customers, we were concerned for our staff,” Baltos said. “Kids might not have the bills that adults do, but they might have car insurance or cell phones, to pay for, or they might just like to have some pocket money.” The start of the fall sports season, namely swimming, ended up providing a partial solution to the staff employment problem. “Many kids said they needed to focus on school, swim team or football,” she said. “A lot of the kids were OK with being off.”