At Mountain Recreation, nothing is more important to our passionate staff than to serve this amazing community. It was a huge disappointment to not be able to open the Eagle Pool this summer, and to miss out on all the poolside fun our community has come to know for nearly 20 years. We completely understand how much this interruption to programming and services like Learn-to-Swim lessons, Swim Team, Rec Kids, birthday parties, and lap swimming, has impacted you and your families.
I was able to share a little insight behind the closing of the Eagle Pool in June, and now that our internal and third-party analyses of the pool and its subsurface soils have been completed, I want to share with you as early as possible that the work needed to get the pool open and operating safely is not likely to be completed in time for next summer.
The District has recently been informed of the need to address major subsurface soil challenges before pool repairs or a replacement can take place. We are yet to receive cost estimates to repair or to fully replace the pool. However, I know whichever path the Town of Eagle and Mountain Rec take will require complex solutions that take more time, funds, and collaboration to do right. Both partners want nothing more than to ensure tax dollars are spent wisely, and to deliver the kind of repair project that ensures the pool will be healthy and operational for years to come.
Excavation of the Pool Deck, Bore Drilling, & Compaction Testing of Subsurface Soils
The pool was closed for the season on June 13, when unusual water loss was noticed and subsurface soil compaction had lowered the northwest end of the pool significantly enough not to permit proper filtration of pool water to ensure swimmer safety.
With serious concern over the water loss and its potential to have impacted surrounding soils, District staff contracted the services of geotechnical engineer Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. (WJE) on June 22 to assist with forensic work. To view full details of the work completed scroll to the end, below.
On September 23rd WJE’s final report was received by the District. Geotechnical engineers confirmed what District staff and Town engineers had suspected: the Eagle Pool has indeed been subject to collapsible soil behavior. This is most apparent in the northwest corner of the lap pool, which coincides with the greatest water content levels in the soil and the greatest settlement of the pool perimeter. Although the collapse mechanism is further advanced at the northwest corner, according to WJE, “there is no guarantee that the collapse behavior has “run its course” in that location.
Collapsible soils are present at other locations around the pool but have not advanced as far as the northwest corner. If soil moisture contents continue to increase, the potential for continuing collapse behavior is present over a significant portion of the pool area.
WJE’s 44-page report, which can be seen HERE, includes numerous strategies for water management in and around the site, as well as recommendations to help mitigate future potential for further soils collapse behavior. While some recommendations are suited for the repair of the pool and others aligning with a full pool replacement – all are very much an endeavor.
WJE’s report adds that, “there is perhaps a temptation to believe that simply a robust approach to water management will effectively solve this problem. While this thought is understandable, and, at least theoretically, makes sense, it is in our opinion likely to be overly optimistic.”
“As can likely be gleaned from the discussion of alternatives above, any approach to rehabilitation of the existing pool is likely to involve complexities and risk. While removal and replacement is not without challenges, in our opinion executing that type of work comes with less challenges and future risk than rehabilitation,” continues WJE.
Repair vs Replace the Eagle Pool
We have brought on a pool design expert and engineer to help understand the costs associated with the geotechnical recommendations and pool repair. He will be looking at the entire pool system and providing recommendations soon. Our next steps are to convene the Eagle Town Council with the Mountain Rec Board for a discussion of options once we have received the pool engineer’s report. We’re in search of the best fit, economical solution for the Eagle Pool’s future.
As always, we invite our community to get engaged and we welcome everyone at our monthly board meetings. We’re all about feedback, especially when it’s constructive and delivered with compassion and an intent to help solve the problems we’re facing.
We will continue to share updates via MountainRec.org.
Janet Bartnik is the Executive Director at Mountain Recreation. To contact Janet email JBartnik@MountainRec.org.
Curious about all the steps required along the way?
No one wants to see the Eagle Pool up and running again, as much as our staff. Although we’ve acted as swiftly as possible, there have been delays due to many required services being booked months in advance. Nevertheless, check out what we’ve been up to below:
- June 13: Eagle Pool officially closed for 2022 season. Lifeguard resources re-routed to maximize Gypsum Rec Center pool hours. Staff quickly mobilize to open the Gypsum Creek Pool.
- June 21: District receives and begins reviewing proposal from WJE for Geotechnical Services
- June 22: WJE is contracted by the District.
- June 24: Thanks to a team effort from various district departments, we were able to open the Gypsum Creek Pool in half the average time to open.
- June 29: WJE personal arrive on site for phase one, exploratory services to recommend phase two.
- July 7: Phase two proposal from WJE for invasive investigation approved.
- July 12: With the help of Nottingham Excavating, crews began removing three test pits alongside the pool to examine the soil directly adjacent to the pool and underneath the deck, and to expose the plumbing lines around the pool. Two on the north and west sides of the lap pool’s deep end and one near the peninsula between the lap pool and the zero-depth entry area. The staff team and consultants observed voids in each test pit opened. Then, staff filled the pool to see if there were water leaks observable with the test pits opened. Water was easily visible in all areas tested that was coming through the pool wall between the concrete pool structure and the stainless-steel gutters that are set atop the structure.
- August 4-5: With the help of Ager Drilling, five exploratory borings were drilled to a depth of 20 feet, to investigate ground conditions under and around the pool. The soil testing included gradation, plasticity, moisture content, dry density, and swell/collapse potential.
- August 7: With the forensic investigation complete, staff began to review two sets of qualifications and rates from professional pool design firms as a precautionary measure to allow for additional support in geotechnical report recommendations and pool repair.
- August 11-12: With the help of PSI Plumbing, video scoping was performed to the maximum length of 270 feet of the drain line that discharges into the drainage ditch. The video showed no breaks in the pipe, but it was impacted by the movement of the subsurface soils creating “whoop-dee-doos” (technical term) or low spot pockets that do not drain as designed. Standing water can leave the pipe and enter there the soils under the pool.
- September 4: Staff began reviewing a draft contract from a pool design firm to begin comparing costs for repairs or replacement of the pool, to review the design of the gutter system, and to help the Town and Mountain Rec decide how to proceed.
- September 8: Contract with pool design engineer, Water’s Edge Aquatic Design, approved
- September 13: Soil sample data delivered to WJE
- September 23: Staff received final geotechnical report
- October 5: Water’s Edge Aquatic Design engineer scheduled to visit and assess the pool