Story by Haylee Hedrick
It is a place that has seen a visit from U.S. Olympian Ryan Lochte, a swimmer that has racked up 12 total medals in his three Summer Games. It has helped train Ben Hesen, a 2004 JHS graduate, to become an NCAA champion and three-time All-American.
Now, the Jeffersonville High School swimming pool is undergoing a major renovation for the first time in the pool’s storied history.
A big part of any school renovation that is commonly overlooked is the preparation beforehand. Maintenance man Jim Dodds took part in the strategic preparation process, which included repainting, updated record board, new utilities installed and improving the air quality of the facility.
Dodds and plumber Paul Berry were responsible for draining the pool. Due to the design of the pool, the last three feet of water had to be manually pumped out and completely dried so that it could be repainted.
“It took three days and 240,00 gallons of water to refill the pool,” Dodds said.
He also stated it took 12 gallons of chlorine to get the pool back to swimming conditions.
“Once finished, it’s really going to enhance the facility, making it look more professional,” Dodds said.
Jeff High swimmer Caroline Elliot (Junior) feels it was time for a renovation to be done and that her and her teammates really deserve it.
“I believe that the pool renovation was 100-percent necessary. It hasn’t been renovated since it was built, ” Elliot said.
She stated that it was time to show the pool some TLC, even though it left her JHS swim team members without an indoor pool for the last couple of months to practice in.
She added that she can’t wait for their first home meet to show off the hard work that has been put into the renovation.
Swim coach Michael Pepa was thrilled when he first heard about the renovation.
“Yes, (the update) was needed from the standpoint of improving the air quality,” Pepa said. “Certainly improving the aesthetics allows us to house a facility that the school and community can be proud of.”
With the renovations, Pepa said the swimmers will be able to train under better conditions thanks to the installation of new, large ceiling fans. In the past, high chlorine levels caused swimmers to have “ chlorine cough” and warm conditions made it difficult for swimmers to breathe.
The bottom of the pool has been painted with new black lane lines and a new “records” wall will be utilized to give the facility an updated look.
The completion date that Pepa is hoping for is in Fall 2016.