YMCA Pool Opens

IRON MOUNTAIN — After nearly eight months of construction, the new pool at the Northern Lights YMCA Dickinson Center opened today.

The pool — the crown jewel and final portion of the Y’s $4.5 million Capital Campaign renovation — opened to YMCA members, Capital Campaign donors and registered class participants today. Non-members and the general public will have access beginning Monday, Nov. 25.

“What a truly special and historic moment for this YMCA, this building and the community,” Dickinson Center Director Jonathan Ringel said. “We’re all just so excited and grateful to be opening this beautiful new pool.”

The new aqua center replaces what was a nearly 50-year-old pool originally installed when the Iron Mountain Community Center was first constructed in the early 1970s. The design of the pool was intended for a 25-year lifespan. In recent years, the YMCA struggled to keep the pool operational, with breakdowns and closures becoming more and more common.

“We always joked at the end that we were holding the pool together with bubble gum and duct tape,” Ringel said. “It was terribly inefficient, too, a huge waste of water and energy.”

But thanks to the generous donations from the community, both business and private, all those issues with the old pool are now a distant memory. The new pool, built by Neuman Pools of Beaver Dam, Wis., is completely state of the art and is operates with the latest pool technology and at the highest efficiency available.

The new pool occupies the same shell as the old pool, except for a new cutout on the northwest corner to accommodate the addition of easy entry steps and a small wading area. The deep end was flipped to the east instead of the west end of the pool. This was done so that the deepest part of the pool was closest to the new mechanical room, which was built as an addition to the building extending into the east parking lot. Also, the deep end is now 8 feet instead of 12, affording greater efficiencies in heating and overall operation.

The elevation of the pool was raised 12 inches, bringing the water level even with the deck for better safety and lifeguard line of sight. Water decants over the pool edges into floor drains and there are 18 floor-filtered water inlets as part of the pool circulation. Underwater LED lighting was installed, as well as a larger surge tank for saving water.

A new limited mobility lift is stationed on the southwest corner of the shallow end, and it is removable for when the pool hosts swim meets. New competition starting stands also were installed.

A new and larger sauna was constructed on deck as part of the east end addition. This area also houses new lifeguard offices and some storage space.

Airflow in the aquatics center was improved as well and will help stabilize the room temperature along with the pool. And a small-tile deck replaces the old concrete deck, providing for slip resistance and easier cleaning and maintenance.

Entry into the new locker rooms is near the center of the pool, and there also is a showerhead on deck as well as a drinking fountain.

The old rusty metal underside of the roof deck was blasted clean and refinished.

“It’s simply remarkable,” Ringel said. “From what it was to what it is now, just an unbelievable transformation.”

Sign-ups are underway for all aquatics classes, programming and lessons. The YMCA also is waiving its joining fee for membership through the end of November.

For more information, go to www.nlymca.com/dickinson or call 906-774-4076.