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Beaver River closes pool for upgrades, hopes for Thanksgiving reopening

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BEAVER FALLS — The Beaver River Central School District has temporarily closed its pool to replace an aging drainage system, with hopes of reopening it after the Thanksgiving holiday.

“It’s time for some new plumbing, plain and simple,” said District Superintendent Leueen Smithling.

The pool drain, installed in 1969, was scheduled to be replaced next summer as part of an $11.25 million capital project that was approved by district voters in June.

However, since late August, particles from the drain have turned up in the pool filter. After inspecting the drain last week, mechanical engineers advised school officials to proceed with the work earlier than planned, Mrs. Smithling said.

“We looked at this as a big safety issue,” she said, noting that engineers could not guarantee that the pipe would last until the end of this school year.

A smaller pipe could have been inserted into the drainage pipe as a temporary fix, but that also was not guaranteed to last, Mrs. Smithling said.

Swim classes, morning lap swim and family swim at night programs all are canceled until further notice.

Arrangements for the Beaver River girls swim team to practice at the Carthage and Lowville school pools are being worked out.

“North country neighbors are just so generous,” Mrs. Smithling said.

Pool upgrade costs are still to be covered with capital project funding, with state building aid expected to cover 82.1 percent of the work.

However, school officials and architects from Bernier, Carr & Associates, Watertown, soon must submit an application to the state Education Department for the pool that is separate from the rest of the capital project in hopes of getting early approval, Mrs. Smithling said.

Design specifications for the remainder of the project are to be submitted to the state in early October, with the intent of receiving the go-ahead from the state in time to start construction in late June, she said. Officials hope to complete the work by November 2015.

Along with the pool upgrades, the capital project is to feature development of an artificial-turf field, renovations to the kindergarten and first-grade wing, agricultural classroom and athletic fields and conversion of a steam heating system installed in 1959 to a more energy-efficient hot-water system.

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