YMCA pool and women’s locker room reopen after renovation

More than five years of renovation work on the aging Moore County YMCA building in Dumas came a step closer to completion last week when the pool and front half of the women’s locker room reopened after a major renovation. At the end of the more than $1.2 million effort, the facility, first opened in 1979, will be almost completely refurbished, according to Y’s chief executive Shane Nelson.

“It’s almost a brand new pool,” Y Board President Pat Sims said on Wednesday as he helped teach swimming to second graders from across Moore County. Volunteers and staff at Y run free classes for second graders through a program called Moore Kids Swim. Sims’ wife Suzanne is in charge of the program. On Wednesday, students and faculty worked in a pool that looked little like the one that existed before.

Gray non-slip tiles now surround the pool, replacing the cladding material that used to cover the pool deck. This material was applied to cover the crumbling original concrete/plaster when the inside of the pool was lined at the beginning of the renovations. (In addition to the liner, the pool got a new sand filter and heater at the time.) Unfortunately, the deck liner material didn’t adhere properly and began to roll, making a terrible mess and threatening safety. Freddie Chavez, owner of Speye Technology, one of Y’s main renovation contractors, donated $45,000 worth of tiles, and since Y paid for the work, workers were able to completely redo the deck. To enhance the look, they also painted the entire pool room to match the tiles. “We are very proud of this,” Sims said. It remains only to work a little on the liner for the pool. From the moment of installation, it loosened up in places. According to Nelson, the liner is covered by a 10-year warranty, and the manufacturer should come and fix the problem in the near future.

The front half of the women’s locker room has also been redesigned, featuring a new practice area with all new equipment, as well as a new locker room and locker room with increased privacy.

The back half is still in development. Since the shower, hot tub and sauna are involved, Nelson said the plumbing work was time consuming. He said he expects it to be completed by April or early May. One of the highlights of the renovation is the replacement of the original open showers, which were arranged in an oddly tight circle, with new individual showers, each with a curtain. Women’s locker rooms are the last to be renovated. Men’s, youth and girl’s have already been completed and their “shower circles” have been replaced.

In addition to the latest work, the refurbishment of the Y Hotel included new tiled flooring throughout the building and an updated lobby. The main gym and gymnasium has also undergone major renovations. Less noticeable were the building’s new roof and new heating and ventilation equipment.

Nelson said on Wednesday that the last part of the building to be renovated will be the kitchen. He said he also hopes to work on football fields and outside parking in a year or two.

Funding is always a problem for Y, but Nelson said foundations, corporations and individuals have donated money to fund the bulk of the work. Y is only on the hook for about $80,000, which Nelson said he thought they could handle without having to borrow. Y is currently debt-free and has a record number of members. Anyone who visits Y can see that he is very helpful.

Work on the building was disruptive at times, but Nelson and Sims said it was worth it. Fortunately, work did not have to stop during the 2020 period when Y was closed due to COVID. The facility must be ready for use as an emergency hospital extension. Despite inflation and supply chain problems, Nelson said they managed to keep the project on track, for the most part, on schedule and on budget. “Everything seems to be going well,” he said. “I haven’t had anyone yet who would want to kill me or anything like that.”

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