An Oak Harbor High School swimmer practices Thursday afternoon at the John Vanderzicht Memorial Pool. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times

An Oak Harbor High School swimmer practices Thursday afternoon at the John Vanderzicht Memorial Pool. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times

Pool fixes planned

‘I was appalled … by the shape the place was in and is still in.

Until levy funds show up in the spring, the North Whidbey Pool, Park and Recreation district is just trying to stay afloat.

However, improvements and expansion of programs are on the horizon once the first check arrives, according to interim Director Rex Coryell.

The facility will close in April to resurface the pools and hot tub, replace the filtration system and replace the small boiler that heats water for the showers.

“I was appalled, honestly, by the shape the place was in and is still in,” Coryell said.

The filtration system used was meant as a backup after the primary one failed a while ago, he said. As he stood inside the mechanical room, Coryell loudly said the newer system will be quieter and more efficient. The boiler in another room is covered in rust. He said no one can remember the last time the pools and hot tub were resurfaced.

The John Vanderzicht Memorial Pool was shut down in the fall of 2017 after a levy to keep the district afloat failed. The district commissioners placed another levy request on the ballot this year and it passed.

For now, the pool is open on a limited basis thanks to donations from the Oak Harbor Rotary Club, the North Whidbey Community Pool and Recreation Foundation and individuals. More lap swim times will be added and lessons will resume if instructors are hired.

Staff estimate the levy to bring in $840,000. The rest of the money to fund the districts $1-million budget comes from dues for lessons and classes. He said it’s likely fees to enter the pool will increase, but it hasn’t been decided by what amount yet.

There are plans to expand the fence and put in a port-a-potty at Clover Valley Dog Park, but the pool will remain the district’s main focus, he said.

He wants to work on improving communication with the community about the pool, what it takes to operate it and what the district does.

“I think it’s fantastic, almost miraculous, that the pool is open,” Coryell said.

Members of the Oak Harbor High School swim team dive off the blocks into the pool Thursday afternoon. There was uncertainty as to whether the team would have a place to practice before the North Whidbey Pool, Park and Recreation district levy passed in November. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times

Members of the Oak Harbor High School swim team dive off the blocks into the pool Thursday afternoon. There was uncertainty as to whether the team would have a place to practice before the North Whidbey Pool, Park and Recreation district levy passed in November. Photo by Laura Guido/Whidbey News-Times

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