Orange town pool closure delayed

In this file photo, a swimming lesson at the Ralph E. Capecelatro Pool in the High Plains Community Center in Orange.

In this file photo, a swimming lesson at the Ralph E. Capecelatro Pool in the High Plains Community Center in Orange.

Those who use the town pool and weren’t looking forward to its planned closure in August for the start of renovations to the locker rooms will get a reprieve, as the Board of Selectmen recently voted to rebid the project.

Selectman Mitchell Goldblatt, liaison to the town’s Bond Oversight Committee, told selectmen the lowest bid was by a company the town has had problems with and the other bids were higher than budgeted for, in part because there is more to be done than originally thought in the locker rooms built in 1975.

He recommended rebidding to a future date in 2018, but deferred to First Selectman Jim Zeoli, who agreed it should be rebid.

Meanwhile, selectmen chose a bidder to renovate the south wing of the community center — the classrooms in the front — and that work will proceed. That project came in at a higher cost than expected and selectmen voted to find the money to make up the difference. The bid went to L. Holzner Electric.

Many expected the popular pool and locker rooms to close in the first days of August as it usually does after camp sessions at High Plains Community Center. The shutdown is usually about a month for cleaning and maintenance, but this time it was to last about six months for the renovations.

So the pool and locker rooms won’t close right after camp, as usual, but rather that closing time will be added to construction time whenever it begins.

After discussion around the pool issue, the board agreed it was important to do the project right, in a way that will last decades to come, and rebidding was the right option, this time with the bid to include more detail. Zeoli said he’ll ask for the new bid proposals to be as tight and organized as possible.

Selectman decided to move on rewriting the bid proposal as soon as possible.

Goldblatt said even with rebidding, they will still see high bids because the scope of the project changed once the architect saw the work that had to be done.

While there are no dangers or safety issues created by the current state of the locker rooms, Goldblatt said, there is more work than originally thought, including redoing the drainage system.

The popular town pool is used by many teams, residents and non-residents. Nothing is being done to the pool, but it cannot by law function without a locker room where people can shower.