YMCA Pool Issues Due to Age

The YMCA mechanical room flooded during the last week of November after failure within the pumping system.

IRON MOUNTAIN – Twice during the last week of November the Northern Lights YMCA – Dickinson Center pool was temporarily shut down to address issues with the mechanical pumping system.

“This pool and its pumping system are original from when the Community Center was built, going on almost 50 years old,” YMCA Center Director Jonathan Ringel said. “Our staff has worked tirelessly to keep things in working condition, but we’re getting to a point where it becomes harder and harder to keep up with the breakdowns in the system.”

According to YMCA officials, many components to the system contain parts that are no longer made or available used. The system is terribly inefficient, and often times when one thing goes wrong, it leads to another issue.

Corroded plumbing, leaking seals and other inefficiencies are just some of the worsening issues facing the pool. The system was originally designed for a 20-25 year useful service life.

“We sometimes jokingly say that we’re holding it together with bubble gum and duct tape,” Ringel said. “The reality is, that’s not far off. The correct solution is a total replacement and upgrade.”

While closures are always regrettable, the Y staff is sometimes left with little choice. Anytime there is a shutdown, the pool cannot reopen until it passes a water quality check.

“While we hate having the pool closed, we have to consider the well-being of the users,” Ringel said.

The silver lining is a total pool replacement is first on the list of improvements with funds received from the Capital Campaign, which kicks off in January.

“We will totally replace everything, from the pool tank, deck to the mechanicals,” Ringel said. “In the long run, it’s the most cost-effective option and preserves a valuable community resource. I’m confident our Capital Campaign will provide the necessary funding to make this much-needed improvement.”

A new pool will drastically cut energy use and water consumption for the YMCA. The plan also calls for new doors and windows to better maintain a stable and comfortable air temperature. Plans include an on-deck shower and sauna. The water will be brought up to deck level and will create easier access for patrons and clearer lines of sight for the lifeguards.

“”We’re going to have a modern pool that will serve our users for several decades to come,” Ringel said. “Our community came together once before to get this pool built. I know they’ll rally again, so that we can continue the tradition of aquatics opportunities for the next generation.”

The public campaign kick-off party is January 25. To contribute to the YMCA Capital Campaign or become a volunteer campaigner, please call (906) 774-4076.