not quite ready to

Construction of Greenwood’s new pool is five weeks behind schedule, but city officials still expect the aquatic park to open for Memorial Day weekend.

But the weather needs to cooperate. Here’s what has to happen for the kids to be able to swim at the city’s much-awaited pool the entire summer: Temperatures cannot stay in the single digits for much of the winter, way less snow has to fall compared with last winter, and the spring months cannot be filled with rain.

Almost none of the concrete decking around the pools and lazy river was completed by the end of the year, and the parking lot didn’t get paved. The city expected that work would be done by winter, when workers moved indoors to complete the bathhouses, pump house, concession stand and offices.

Now workers will attempt to steal back whatever days they can during the winter to catch up on concrete work, Greenwood project manager John Shell said.

Asphalt plants won’t reopen until spring, so the parking lot won’t be completed until March or April at the earliest, Shell said. But he said crews can do some concrete work on dry winter days as long as the temperature is above 25 degrees.

When the weather is warm enough, workers will pour concrete and should be able to finish all of the concrete during the next three months, so it won’t affect the projected opening date of May 23.

Shell, parks department superintendent Rob Taggart and Mayor Mark Myers are confident the pool will open on time.

“I don’t see any danger in that right now. The only way that can happen is if we have a bitter winter. We’re not looking for single-digit days for a couple months straight. Even if maybe we had two bad months, I’d still be comfortable with it,” Shell said.

Construction on the pool began in June, but the project was quickly behind schedule due to rain throughout the summer and fall.

The overall amount of rain that fell in 2014 was about average for Indianapolis, according to National Weather Service records. But the area received about 3 inches more rain than average in June and had several rainy days throughout summer and fall.

Rain held up projects because heavy equipment, such as concrete trucks, were getting stuck in mud on their way in and out of the park, Shell said.

“It was really a lot of rain in August compared to what we normally get, and we were banking on making a lot of progress in fall,” Taggart said.

After the rainy months, an early cold snap in November also halted progress, Shell said. The asphalt plants closed for the season before the parking lot could get done, and the cold slowed progress on concrete.

Workers were able to get all of the buildings put up and enclosed, and get gas heat to them, so the work that was scheduled for winter is progressing on schedule, Shell said. That will allow crews to stay on track while also squeezing in concrete work as weather permits, he said. The parking lot should only take about one week to complete once the asphalt plants open in spring, he said.

Shell said he expects the construction will be substantially finished and the pools filled with water by the first week of May, since the city will need a few weeks to balance out the water chemistry and train staff.

Staffing, scheduling and operation policies are being worked on by Counsilman-Hunsaker, the firm hired to manage the pool for the first three years. Taggart said the firm has hired a pool manager, Isaac Hart, who most recently worked as the assistant aquatic center manager in Plainfield.

Pull Quote

“I don’t see any danger in that right now. The only way that can happen is if we have a bitter winter. We’re not looking for single-digit days for a couple months straight. Even if maybe we had two bad months, I’d still be comfortable with it.”

John Shell, project manager for the new Greenwood pool, on the impact of weather on construction