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Mt. Lebanon looks to upgrade pool

Wednesday, March 27, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

Mt. Lebanon officials hope a new design for the community's swimming pool and bath house will make them more modern and accessible to all ages — and eliminate the need to walk through the changing rooms to get to the pool.

Architects outlined their vision for the $3.3 million renovation on Monday night, highlighting the addition of a gated atrium connecting the front entrance to the pool deck, new toilets and private showers.

“It's a good structure, but the facility's very dated,” said Mark Edelmann, principal at EPM Architecture in Bradford Woods.

The pool will get heating, a new deck with bleachers, a splash pool and an entry along one side so people can ease in and out of the water without a ladder, stairs or ledge.

Other possible improvements include a climbing wall in the diving area, new water slides and an extension of the deck to overlook the playing fields downhill from the pool.

The proposal has been posted online at mtlebanon.org and will be open to public comment until April 2.

When John Foley and his partners at the firm of Foley/Kerr/Becker/Scarlett designed the recreation center and pool in 1974, he said, the pool wasn't the centerpiece of the facility, the neighboring hockey rink was. The rec center and rink got upgrades this year to make the rink more energy-efficient, paid for with part of a $2.5 million bond that was to be repaid with energy savings around the municipality.

The project won a citation from the American Institute of Architects for excellence in design, but Foley, 85, said it was time for some updates.

Resident Bill Lewis said he favored the upgrades, but asked whether planners could estimate how much it would cost to run the pool.

During the last decade, communities such as Peters and Upper St. Clair spent millions to surpass Mt. Lebanon with new or updated pool and recreation facilities, pitched as a means to attract families to move there. Upper St. Clair opened its $16.5 million community and recreation center, with a gymnasium, indoor track and pools indoors and outdoors, in 2009.

Shaler manager Tim Rogers said municipal pools are “black holes of money.” His township spent $12,000 on a structural steel upgrade for its water slide, $83,000 for a concession stand and $20,000 on a kiddie pool in recent years.

Matthew Santoni is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

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