Pool opening date remains TBD as construction continues

Site conditions after recent rain.

In an update to the City Council on Monday night, community pool project manager George Sanen said the new pool opening deadline was now sometime in winter 2024, but it was still too soon to give an exact opening date.

The original construction timeline envisioned the pool opening in the summer of 2024, a timeline that’s been amended over time due to rain and other complications, including the removal of buried fuel tanks and related contaminated soils that required permitting and coordination with Alameda County Environmental Health.

This was Sanen’s first pool update since December 2023. He said the project is about 60-61% complete and provided an update on the milestones met so far (including protecting an oak tree on the site). Sanen said “severe weather and rain days” have caused some work stoppages on site, hampering progress.

Sanen said he knows that the community is eager for an opening date but “We’re not quite there yet … hopefully in the next four months I can give you more specific information,” he said.

Sanen reported that approximately 60% of the contingency funds have been used so far due to various change order requests. The city says the project remains within budget. The City Council voted in December 2023 to take $1 million from the city’s Facilities Capital Fund in order to fortify the pool’s construction and contingency budgets – bringing the total project budget to almost $30 million.

Councilmember Jennifer Long asked if there was a way to identify other possible obstacles in the timeline that might cost time and money. Sanen said there were still 176 “activities” on the critical path to completion. Construction of the building, he said, is complicated but an essential step in order to clear the way for the pool contractors to move on site to build the deck and start pool construction. Keeping contractors from being on top of each other is a challenge, and each day the schedule is pushed out adds more expense, he said. PGE transformer work still remains to be done, Sanen said earlier.

Mayor Jen Cavenaugh asked Sanen to elaborate on how the rain delays impacted the schedule, given that money was spent to “weatherize” the site — adding gravel, for example, to allow heavy equipment to traverse the site even in wet conditions. He said sometimes there is no way to protect against the mud created by heavy rain days. And rain of any amount means welding work must stop on site, he said.

Councilmember Betsy Andersen asked for information about the Mountain View pool project, another all-electric pool facility that is very similar to Piedmont’s project and involves some of the same firms. The project was supposed to open this month, Sanen said, but it’s been delayed due to complications with the new electric systems being installed. He said that while the pools are finished, the pool lining can’t be installed until there is very dry weather. The Mountain View pool is the first all-electric pool project in the U.S.

“We are on site every day, continue to make progress. You always hope to see more, but each day we are continuing to move toward our goal,” said Sanen, a point Public Works Director Daniel Gonzalez also emphasized at the start of the update.

This article was updated on March 20 to clarify the Piedmont pool’s connection to the Mountain View pool project.

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