EDMOND — Coach Steve Riggs tries to keep calm these days as he and his 120 high school swimmers wait to take their first plunge into their new 815,349-gallon competitive swimming pool.
“Being anxious isn't going to make it go any faster,” Riggs said.
That big day could be floating further away.
A drainage design problem on the deck of the 117,000-gallon leisure pool has completion of the $24.7 million, 50-meter pool and recreation center bumped to the first of next year.
The joint project, with partners the city, YMCA and Edmond Public Schools, is 75 percent complete, officials said.
City Manager Larry Stevens said the deck area is being reworked so the contractor can proceed with the remaining work.
“The critical path for the completion of this project involves the significant amount of tile to be installed,” Stevens said. “The delay in this design has thrown the project off schedule, since it is estimated that the tile installation will take at least four months.”
Randy Drew, city project coordinator, said the slope on the leisure pool deck was off and had to be altered for water runoff and to meet American Disability Act regulations so the area is wheelchair accessible.
“There's always something that looks good on paper and doesn't work in the field,” Drew said. “We don't want to get this far and not do it right.”
Atlas Construction, the general contractor, was working with tile installers last week to determine if a second crew could be hired and work days could be extended to speed up the project.
“Before the end of this month, we will know if the tile installation can been accomplished within a time frame that would keep everything on schedule to be fully operational in January 2014,” Stevens said.
Both pools and the showers have to be tiled, a big job, Drew said.
“We're not talking about getting a small crew in here for the tile,” Drew said. “We are talking about 30 or 40 more people.
“I am optimistic. But I would go after Moby Dick in a row boat and take tartar sauce with me.”
The big push to get the project completed on time is so Edmond can host the state swim competition in February.
YMCA officials also are anxious to get open.
Mike Roark, YMCA executive director, said every day the Edmond Recreation and Aquatic Center isn't open they are missing out on generating dollars.
“We have been disappointed,” Roark said. “We just can't control what is happening.
“The schools are certainly affected by the delay.”
In November, the start of this year's high school swim season for all three Edmond's high schools, which includes 20 seniors, won't be at the new pool in J.L. Mitch Park, 2733 Marilyn Williams Drive.
Riggs has already canceled swim meets he had scheduled in November and December.
The coach also had to do away with his plans for a Thanksgiving break alumni reunion for swimmers, who have graduated, since work on the 102,000-square-foot building started in May 2012.
“I had hoped to use it the entire season,” Riggs said. “We are ready to go. I wanted the seniors to enjoy it a little bit this year. It is just a matter of when we will jump in.
“We will have to wait like everyone else.”