On Wednesday, June 5, the staff of the Des Plaines Park District, along with park board commissioners and residents of the neighborhood, celebrated the grand opening of the new Chippewa Pool at 197 N. Eighth Ave.
More than 200 swimmers were present as Des Plaines Park Board of Commissioners President Joe Weber cut the ribbon at the front gate and Executive Director John Hecker welcomed everyone to their new pool.
"The process of building your new neighborhood pool began two years ago with public hearings and meetings with the park board and staff. We listened to your requests and were able to incorporate many of the features you asked for. We are so proud of this beautiful new facility, and we know that everyone will enjoy all that Chippewa Pool has to offer," said Hecker.
"We are also quite proud that the pool project was completed on time and under the original budget of $3.2 million."
Construction on the new pool began Aug. 14, 2012, with the removal of the old pool and the demolishing of the bathhouse; both had stood on that site since 1967.
Construction, under the direction of Paul Cathey, the park district superintendent of Parks and Planning, Glen Anderson for the general contractor, Nicholas & Associates, and Ed Kelley, the district's mechanical maintenance supervisor, proceeded according to schedule throughout the warm winter and opened on time after passing final Inspection by the Department of Health on May 31.
This inspection process certifies that Chippewa Pool is compliant with all the rules and regulations set forth in the Bathing and Swimming handbook.
At the 2010 public meeting, residents expressed interest in having the look of the new pool fit with the general feel of the neighborhood. Cordogan, Clark & Associates, the architectural firm for the project, designed a Tudor-inspired bathhouse with a steeply pitched roof, an open arch above the entrance, and prominent gables to coordinate with the style of the older homes in the area.
Residents also wanted the facility to remain a "neighborhood pool" as opposed to a water park. New Chippewa Pool occupies the same footprint as the old pool, but has many additional state-of-the art amenities.
In the Leisure Pool area, the shallow end has a zero depth entry and five geysers that shoot continuous fountains of water into the air. The shallow end also has a Fumbling Five, an omnipod with five buckets in a star pattern. As the buckets constantly fill and randomly spill, they create a large variable splash area.
At the opposite end of the Leisure Pool is a new tot-size slide for swimmers under 48 inches, which splashes riders onto a non-slid pad in just two feet of water. The Lap Pool is connected to the Leisure Pool and can be configured with six standard 25-yard lanes for competitive or recreational swimming.
The shallow end of the Lap Pool is 3 feet 6 inches deep and drops off to 12 feet, 3 inches. When not in use for swimming laps, a lane line divides the lap pools at the five-foot depth mark. In the deep end, there is a three-meter diving board and another drop slide for swimmers over 48 inches tall.
On the deck, a permanent shade structure and shade umbrella offer respite on sunny days, and new chairs and chaise lounges are perfect for sun bathing. In addition to men's and women's locker rooms, the bathhouse also has a family locker room. There are lockers both in the locker rooms and on the deck, free to users, which can be secured with a standard combination padlock.
Adjacent to the bathhouse is a new, covered concession area with picnic tables, two water and soft drink vending machines, a snack machine with healthy alternatives, and an ice cream dispensing machine.
New Chippewa Pool is ADA (American Disability Association) compliant. Accessibility from the parking lot to the pool entrance is curb free. A special poolside lift is available for those who have trouble entering or leaving the water. Special seats have been installed in the showers and the bathhouse hallways are extra wide to allow for wheelchair access.
Many new "green initiatives" are in place at Chippewa Pool. The park district is testing green cleaners that are better for the environment, along with a wall-mounted metered dispenser that will help save money and create less waste.
A recycling program is in place. Fluorescent lighting was installed, replacing the metal haloid lights. This provides for energy savings in several ways. The new ballasts and lights use much less electricity than the metal haloid ones; fluorescents have instant on and off capability, no electricity is wasted during a warm up period; and the new light bulbs and fixtures are less expensive to replace and maintain.
LED soffit site lighting was installed, remotely controlled by computer, providing additional cost savings. The Defender pool filter that was put in place will save thousands of gallons of water each year and provide significant energy savings. Finally, a new electronically fuel injected lawn mower was purchased to maintain the grounds. The new mower uses substantially less gasoline.
"The entire process was a team effort," said Paul Cathey. "From the residents' input to the architect's beautiful design and the General Contractor's hands-on management of the construction, everyone worked closely with the park district staff, and the result is a pool that enhances the neighborhood in every way.
"I couldn't be more pleased that the park district has delivered another new facility that Des Plaines residents will enjoy for many years to come," Cathey said.
For information about Chippewa Pool, pool passes, swimming lessons, events and classes at the Des Plaines Park District, visit www.DPParks.org or call (847) 391-5700.
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