Repair work to the historic Balmorhea State Park swimming pool is officially underway. In September, contractors started the initial repair process. Officials say it’s still unclear just how long it will be until the pool reopens.
Repair work to the Balmorhea State Park pool continues this week, as contract workers cut loose the pool’s high-dive platform. The 14,000-pound stucture was lifted by a crane and “set gently to the side of the pool,” according to a post on the park’s Facebook page.
Park officials say no new cracks were observed.
Repair work to the pool first began on Sept. 4th — nearly 4 months after park staff first discovered “structural damage” to the pool during an annual cleaning.
“It seemed like it took a long time to get all the ducks in a row,” said Carolyn Rose, the park’s superintendent. “But we’ve dotted our i’s and crossed our t’s.”
The repair process has taken longer than expected — in part — because contractors are taking extra precautions. They’re not using heavy equipment inside the park and are demolishing and removing material by hand. Park officials are concerned with the pool’s age and the endangered species that call its waters home.
“Making critical repairs to the popular pool while protecting the endangered resources associated with the springs is an extremely high priority of us,” said Brent Leisure, the Director of Texas State Parks, in a press release. “Our plan is to reverse decades of erosive impacts and restore public access to this oasis as soon as possible”
— TX Parks & Wildlife (@TPWDnews) May 11, 2018
It’s unclear exactly how long the repair work will take, but TPWD officials say it will be “several months,” with the price-tag for repairs expected to reach $2 million.
Earlier this summer, Houston-based Apache Corporation announced it was partnering with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Foundation to help cover the cost. Apache will match up to $1 million of the funds raised.
As of this week, the TPWF has raised $111,628 towards the repair work.
The pool has been closed since May when park staff discovered “structural failure” in the pool. During an annual cleaning, park staff discovered damage to a concrete slab under one of the diving boards.
After a lengthy review, the state said erosion was the primary cause of the damage.