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Aquatic Center set to reopen

PETERSON AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- After a technical delay prevented the previous opening date in February, work is back on track and the Peterson Aquatic Center is scheduled to open June 6.

"That's our date," said Stephen Steinke, center manager. "We'll do a soft reopening and then a grand reopening down the line. Some plans are in the works, they're just not finalized."

The center closed Nov. 2, for deck replacement. The work was intended to be completed within 100 days, but an unexpected problem arose causing that time frame to be increased.

Brian Hub, 21st Civil Engineer Squadron project manager, said trouble reared its head when contractors began to apply the new deck coating.

"After the contractor removed the old coating in the kiddy pool area, they started to apply the new coating system," Hub said. "Right away it started to bubble."

Work stopped and tests were conducted, revealing the culprit was the moisture content and alkalinity of the concrete, both much higher than what the coating could accommodate. There was no way of knowing those factors ahead of time, Hub said. A decision was made to wait a couple of weeks in hopes the concrete would dry out to an acceptable level.

"After additional testing, it was clear the concrete was not going to dry out quickly enough to allow for the project to proceed," Hub said.

Back at the drawing board, the contractor came up with an alternative coating system that is not susceptible to the problematic conditions. However, the new system cost more than originally budgeted and it took a few weeks to procure the additional funding. Now with the problem resolved and funds acquired, Hub said the work itself is not difficult.

Replacing the non-slip surface on concrete decking around the center's pools was the original plan for the project. Work on the kiddy pool area is underway and after surfacing that area is complete the same will be done for the main pool. Once installation of the three-part coating is completed for all decks, and dust from the concrete work removed, the center will be ready for use.

"The new coating will be more durable, so we won't be doing this again for another 15 to 20 years," Hub said.

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