OGDEN — The swimming pool at the Marshall White Center has closed indefinitely, due to large cracks that have suddenly appeared in its concrete surfaces.
“Last week, there were some stress cracks that started showing up in the bottom of the pool,” said Justin Anderson, Ogden City’s deputy director for public services. “They showed up in multiple places. We basically drained the pool, and we’re having some people come to look at it and give us a determination of what needs to happen.”
Juan Martinez, recreation supervisor for the Marshall White Center, said it was apparent there was a problem on Monday, March 5.
“We got here that morning, and the pool water was down 8 inches,” Martinez said. “We knew something was going on.”
A closer inspection found five lengthy fractures — two of which extend across the entire width of the bottom of the pool — in its concrete surfaces.
That evening, a post from the Marshall White Center Facebook page said the swimming pool would be closed on Tuesday, March 6, explaining: “We are currently doing some modifications to our system. Sorry for the inconvenience.”
That post was then updated at 5 p.m. March 6 to read: “The Marshall White Center swimming pool will be closed Tuesday March 6th and Wednesday March 7th. We anticipate reopening Thursday March 8th.”
But on March 8 came another post with the bad news: “Attention Marshall White Patrons! Until Further Notice the Marshall White Center Pool Will be Closed.”
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Martinez said concrete pools often get surface cracks in them, but these go much deeper. He says perhaps most disheartening is that the cracks split some of the tiles at the bottom of the pool.
“The cracks didn’t follow the grout lines, but split right across the tile,” Martinez said. “That tells you the pool is under a great deal of stress.”
Anderson said it’s too early to know what happened, what can be done or how long the pool might be out of service. He said the city would be bringing in experts to analyze the cracks, see how extensive the problem is and make suggestions.
“That’s what we’re trying to gather right now,” Anderson said. “We’re asking, ‘Can it be fixed?’ ‘What would the cost be?’ ‘Is it even worth fixing?’”
Martinez said the indoor pool is well-used by the community. Swimming lessons, water aerobics, kayaking classes for children and adults, open-swim sessions — all add up to a busy community pool. The pool is also used by the Morgan High School swim team, as well as Ogden Preparatory Academy.
“The neighborhood kids are heartbroken,” Martinez said. “Last week was a rough one for me, having to tell all these kids they couldn’t go swimming.”
Martinez has been a fan of the pool all his life. The 45-year-old attended the old Lewis Elementary School in Ogden and remembers swimming in the pool with his older brother.
And therein may lie part of the problem: The pool’s 50th anniversary is coming up on Oct. 18.
“It’s not a spring chicken,” Anderson said.
Martinez concurred, saying, “I just don’t know the shelf life of a pool like this.”
All other activities and services at the Marshall White Center remain open, according to Martinez.