The current above-ground pool at the Hingham, Mass., property is 66 years old and plagued with problems. The town-owned property is in the design phase of replacing the failing pool with three new ones: an indoor six-lane lap pool, an indoor heated pool, and an outdoor family pool/splash pad.
The above-ground pool at the South Shore Country Club in Hingham, Mass., is 66 years old, holds only a few hundred people and has cracks in its concrete foundation held together with carbon fiber staples and patches of Kevlar, the Hingham-based Wicked Local reported.
“We have to get it inspected monthly by the building department to make sure we can operate the pool,” said Jay McGrail, Director of Operations. “Whether or not we are going to have the pool is a year-to-year thing. Almost a month-to-month thing.”
Soon, the deteriorated and unsightly pool could be a thing of the past. South Shore CC is entering the design phase of a plan to replace the failing pool with three new ones: an indoor six-lane lap pool, an indoor heated pool, and an outdoor family pool/splash pad. The pool plan also includes an athletic center for gym equipment such as treadmills and stationary bikes, a 5,400-sq. ft. bathhouse, locker rooms and a water slide, Wicked Local reported.
“It’s nice for the families,” club management committee Chairman Bill Friend said. “There is a lot of synergy between the pool and the other facilities we have here.”
Voters at the town meeting next month will decide whether to approve $300,000 in Community Preservation Act money to pay for pre-construction documents. The total cost of the building plan will be $650,000, and the nonprofit group Friends of The South Shore Country Club has launched a fundraising campaign to raise the extra $350,000, Wicked Local reported.
The town bought the 1950s facility in 1988 with the understanding that it would be self-sufficient, able to pay its own operating expenses and building maintenance through memberships and private fundraising, Wicked Local reported.
Neither the club nor the town has the projected $10 million cost to build a new pool. Members of the club’s management committee say they hope to raise the money through a public/private partnership agreement with the town. The club and the town have teamed up on past projects, including the $4.5 million athletic fields at Hingham High School, for which the club raised $1.4 million, Wicked Local reported.
Friends of the South Shore CC member Christine Smith said the town is asking the club to raise $350,000 of the $650,000 needed for the pool building plan before proceeding. “It’s kind of testing that public/private partnership concept, which we’ve done before, but it’s a little different since it’s not a fully funded town project. There are a lot of different monies involved, ” she said.
Friends President Warren Pelissier said the pools could be used by outside organizations. The lap pools would be used by the swim and dive teams at Hingham High School and Notre Dame Academy, and they are looking at a partnership with South Shore Hospital to use the heated pool for physical therapy, Wicked Local reported.
The club’s administrators began considering options to upgrade the pool five years ago when a feasibility study commissioned by the club showed the existing pool could not be converted to an indoor facility and was deteriorated beyond repair. The study also warned against putting a new pool in the same place, Wicked Local reported.
Last year, the town approved $75,000 in community preservation money for an additional feasibility study, which suggested moving the pool to a different location on the property and building a putting green in its place, Wicked Local reported.
Once the building plans are drawn up, the project can go to bid. If all goes according to plan, McGrail said he hopes construction could begin next summer and the project could be done in 2020. “The pool project fits a lot of demographics in the town,” McGrail, whose last day as the club’s director is Friday, said. “One of the things we try to do with the club is make it more for all the residents of the community, not just the few who play golf.”
Golf memberships start at $1,900 a year, less for seniors and students. Seasonal pool memberships start at $85 for individuals and $285 for families and are sold through the Hingham Recreation Department. The Friends group is circulating a survey asking what residents want to see in a new pool and if they would be more likely to buy a membership if the facility is upgraded, Wicked Local reported.
Pelissier says the project response has been overwhelmingly positive, but there are a few who think the town should pay for it because the value of the club will be reduced if there is no pool. “The town should have a vested interest in this, and I think that it does,” Pelissier said.
Smith said replacing the damaged pool is about more than just upgrading the experience for club members. “A lot of people feel like this town bought a country club with a pool, and you can’t not have a pool now,” she said. “That’s not being a good steward of the town.”
The pool survey is available online, at town hall and at the South Shore Country Club through April 9, Wicked Local reported.
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