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Splashes of paint

New slide rises above city pool

POSTED May 9, 2012 4:34 p.m.

Armed with long-handled rollers, Great Bend Park Department employees applied a fresh coat of white paint to the floor of the Wetlands Aquatic Center pool Wednesday afternoon.
The glare was intense. “It is several degrees warmer in here,” Park Superintendent Scott Keeler said.
His people are busy prepping the facility for its 2012 grand opening Saturday, May 26. Work involves servicing the water pumps, greening up the grass, doing safety inspections and making sure the water-treatment system is functioning.
“We will be ready,” he said.
But, the first step was the painting the floor and walls of a pool that will eventually hold 570,000 gallons of water. This job takes 70 gallons of paint. “There’s a little bit of surface area there,” Keeler joked.
Each year, the Park Department touches up the surface. But, every two or three years, all new paint is required. “It depends on how it holds up,” he said.
The improvements also highlight a new attraction – a tall, red, yellow and blue water slide that rises from deck at the south end of the pool. It replaces a shorter, blue double slide that was about half as big.
“It had been there since the 1990s,” Keeler said of the previous fixture. “It was old and deteriorated, and it was time for an upgrade.”
Swimmers will drop four feet into the deep end of the pool when speeding out of the slide. It is actually a water slide, Keeler said. “It came out pretty nice.”
The work was handled by an outside contractor. “It was fairly extensive,” Keeler said of what was involved in the projeect.
Touring the Wetlands Aquatic Center Wednesday was Terry Hoff, Great Bend human resources director.”We’re anxious to get it finished,” he said of the pool. “Everything looks OK.”
There were some leaks found, but Keeler’s staff was taking care of them. “We are lucky to have city employees with the skills to do this work themselves,” Hoff said.
When the pool opens the Saturday before Memorial Day, Paige Achatz will return as aquatics director.

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