Sandwich School News

News and dialogue about Sandwich Public Schools

Sandwich High School Pool Leaking, Will Remain Closed

closed signThe following is a press release from the Sandwich School District:

Dr. Richard Canfield, Superintendent of Schools, announced today that the Sandwich High School pool will continue to remain closed as the district seeks to determine the cause of a significant water leak.

The leak became evident when winter storm Nemo caused a lengthy power outage, including the pool mechanical systems that are not on the generator feed.  A scheduled check of the school water meter following the storm and closure of the high school  showed an unusually  high rate of water use. Various tests were performed to determine the cause.  The current belief is that when power came back on, the auto fill valve kept calling for more water.

It is not unusual to have the water level drop during a prolonged shutdown.  A grease pencil was used to mark the water level, and then with the auto fill shut off it was determined that the level was dropping at a rate of 3-inches  per night.  That overnight loss has now dropped to 1-inch per night as the water level in the pool and the surge pit has equalized.

The pool is a closed system, meaning that the pool water is pumped continuously through a series of pipes, the filters and the pool water heating system. Pressure within the pool is balanced and the pool water level is maintained by the surge pit that also houses the auto fill valve.  A separate pump and drainage valves need to be activated for any planned draining of the pool.  The system was designed with an auto fill valve because with normal pool use some water is lost through swimmer splashing and evaporation.

Collectively the loss of water is estimated to be 80,000 gallons.

The Town Building Inspector met with the Superintendent of Schools, Director of Facilities, and Director of the Community School to consider options.

The town’s insurer is providing an engineer from Kleinfelder of Cambridge, Massachusetts to determine the cause, and recommend solutions.

There are many pools older than the Sandwich pool that continue to function well with regular maintenance.  The district is seeking recommendations for near and long term solutions to include an assessment of its mechanical components, so its future can better be determined.  The assessment will help to move the conversation about the pool’s future from speculation to more actionable information.

This latest occurrence follows two prior mechanical problems with the pool water heater.  The combined result has kept the pool closed since January 14, 2013.  Various programs had to be canceled and the high school swimming and diving teams had to find alternate facilities for practice and were forced to move scheduled home meets to away meets, placing the teams at a disadvantage for league and state competition.  The high school pool is used for sailing team members to qualify for competition as team members must meet water safety requirements.   Some athletes use the pool  as part of a post-injury rehabilitation plan.  It has been used for after-prom activities sponsored by the Sandwich After-Prom Committee.

Special education students have been using the pool and children in the Spinnaker program for autistic children were scheduled to begin lessons, but the closing placed the plan on hold.   The pool has also  been a training and competition site for the Special Olympics program.   A program for young children learning to swim and operated by the Community School, focused on the theme, “In Sandwich, Every Child Water-safe,  Every Child a Swimmer,”  The program experienced significant growth with 175 to 200 children enrolled per session, but refunds are in the process of being issued to those families.

The pool has been a primary training site for lifeguards for beaches on Cape Cod and in Plymouth.  It has also been available on a rental basis to various swim clubs, church youth groups and other community groups.  The Community School summer camp program, and various youth programs on Cape Cod have used the pool on a rental basis for swim lessons and competitive programs.

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