A rainy spring has pushed the opening of the new Oxford Aquatic Center from this weekend back to June 15.
The $4.5 million complex is being built by the Wilcon Corp., a contracting company based out of Dayton. Casey Wooddell, Oxford’s director of parks and recreation, said the company has lost more than 40 work days due to rain.
“In meeting with both the pool contractor and general contractor this week, everyone feels really confident in that [June 15] date,” Wooddell said. “I would like to think, and I think they do too, it’s more possible that we would be ready a couple days sooner than a couple days later at this point.”
Last month, Wooddell had said the project was on budget, and he had remained optimistic about sticking to the May 25 target, but the weather did not cooperate.
“Nothing we could do on our end,” Wooddell said. “It just wasn’t favorable construction weather. The contractor has worked extremely hard. They’re working long days, they’re working weekends, they’re going above and beyond to try to get there, but it just came to a point in time where they said, ‘We just can’t make it [by May 25].’”
Some concrete and decking work around the pool still needs to be done. Once that is completed, workers can move onto the final stages such as pavement and painting.
Wooddell said the goal is for the concrete to be finished this week.
Despite disappointment over the delay, Wooddell said the feedback he has received has been “surprisingly positive.”
Even if the pool is ready before June 15, the “grand opening” will still be on that day, he said.
“The grand celebration, we won’t move off a Saturday, just so people can attend,” Wooddell said. “If it’s ready Wednesday or Thursday, we might bring the swim team in and let them do their practices and get in there and use it. We might do a soft opening for donors, city staff or something to get some people in the door and us get a feel for operations before just saying, ‘Here, everybody come at once.’”
Until then, there are a few other options for Oxford swimmers, as the Oxford Country Club, the Miami University Recreation Center and Hueston Woods all have pools.
Only members are allowed into the country club, while patrons will need to pay admission to get into the Rec Center or Hueston Woods pools.
Located in Oxford Community Park, 6801 Fairfield Road, the Aquatic Center will replace the old pool, which closed at the end of last summer. That pool, at 6025 Fairfield Road, was 45 years old and had major leaks. Demolition of the old pool is slated to begin in the next two weeks, Wooddell said.
Wooddell said he hopes the new pool will serve Oxford for the next half century.
“We want to be able to serve every segment of the population at one facility, and we think, based on our design, we can do that,” Wooddell said.