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Moose Jaw Natatorium

Moose Jaw's Natatorium improvements going swimmingly.

Moose Jaw's outdoor pool is nicer and more accessible thanks to some recent fix-ups.

The Phyllis Dewar Pool - originally opened to the public in 1966 - and the building beside it that hosts the change rooms (known as the Natatorium) received some extensive upgrades.

Swimmers will notice that the deck and basin of the Olympic-sized swimming pool have been repaired. The deck had started to sink and crack, but has been levelled out via a technique called "mudjacking."

Contractors drilled more than 300 holes in the pool deck and injected the holes with a concrete-based "mud" that lifts the deck until it levels out.

Other improvements to the outdoor pool are a new portable lift to allow wheelchair users greater use of the pool.

The Natatorium - built in 1932 - also received some upgrades and according to the city's design and development technician Bob Craig, they were badly needed.

"The change room areas and the pool deck were starting to get really grungy and run down," he said.

The paint on the inside walls was yellowing, the lighting was dingy, and the boiler was always breaking down.

But that's no longer the case. The building received new showers and shower floors, along with washroom fixtures, sinks, toilets and urinals.

There is new paint throughout and brighter lighting.

Both the pool and the building received new boilers, too.

The facility opened for the 2010 season in mid-June, and the public response has been positive.

"It looks a lot better in the building," Craig said. "As for the pool deck, all the cracks have been filled in, all the missing concrete has been replaced, so it looks a lot better out there and people are really happy with it.

Community investment to fix up the pool and the Natatorium cost a total of $595,000.

Fortunately, the city was able to access grants of $198,500 from both the federal and provincial governments, via the Recreational Infrastructure Canada (RInC) program, which was specifically designed to improve recreational facilities like arenas, athletic fields and swimming pools.

"If we wouldn't have had the government grants, we would have only had about $200,000, and that wouldn't have gone very far at all," Craig said. "Maybe we wouldn't have done anything at all. Next year, it would have been worse, and the year after that, it would have been worse. With this grant money, it definitely helped us improve the pool and keep it going."

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