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Harry Bailey set to close for two years


A Saskatoon swimming pool is just days away from undergoing major construction.

Harry Bailey Aquatic Centre is set to close at the end of the month for a series of upgrades, which will close the pool for 18 to 24 months.

"Groups have been very accommodating," Jody Hauta, the city's recreation programs and facilities manager said. "They're recognizing there's short-term pain for long-term gain."

The estimated project cost is $13.4 million, with $10 million coming from the Government of Canada’s Green and Inclusive Community Building program.

That injection of cash is allowing for more upgrades than initially thought when the planning began for the pool originally built for the 1976 Canada Games.

"We've been working on the Harry Bailey project for probably three to five years now. So it's been a lot of reviews and a lot of investigations on the building," the city's director of facilities management Troy Lafreniere said.

"All that came into play, and now it's time to put those plans into action."

Upgrades include replacing the 50-metre pool basin, solar panels and other repairs to the roof, the water treatment system and the building’s mechanical system will see significant upgrades, as well as the insulation and vapour barrier.

Special attention has been given to accessibility, with the front entrance of the pool and the changerooms also getting a major overhaul.

"Everything from the entryway in from the parking lot, having the stairs under a cover and also having an elevator right from the parking lot level," Hauta said. "To the changerooms. More changeroom options, more privacy options."

Saskatoon Paralympian Shelby Newkirk is pleased to hear of the added accessibility features as the pool she trains at five days a week won't be available as the Paris 2024 Summer Games approach.

"A lot of us have moved to the Shaw Centre, which I'm very grateful we have another pool, and I'm excited to see Harry Bailey when it's done," she said.

Newkirk says Saskatoon not only has one of the biggest para swimming programs in the country, but she's proud of Saskatoon having the Shaw Centre, a second high-performance pool capable of hosting competitive events.

"It's so cool that Saskatoon has two really nice pools because there's bigger centres that don't have that," she said.

While the upgrades are geared towards making the pool an attractive training centre for athletes, users from seniors all the way to toddlers will be able to enjoy the new space.

The building will have universal changerooms, more family changerooms and rentable meeting space and a multi-purpose room when it reopens.

However, Hauta understands being down a pool is going to create a rush toward the other pools with very few spots available for public swims or swimming lessons.

"We do have relatively full facilities already, but we certainly will welcome people with open arms to public swims, aqua size and swimming lessons where there is availability," he said.

The city says the renovations will give Harry Bailey another 40 years of use. Top Stories

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