Centennial Pool renovations to take longer

A major energy retrofit of the Centennial Pool in downtown Halifax is going to take longer and cost nearly $2 million more than planned.

A major energy retrofit of the Centennial Pool in downtown Halifax is going to take longer and cost nearly $2 million more than planned.

Halifax Regional Municipality got a surprise last month when all three bids received on the project ranged from $4.6 million to $4.8 million  — significantly more than the planned budget of about $3 million.

Terry Gallagher, HRM's project manager, said the tender will be changed and re-issued so the work can be carried out over two budgets. 

"The bids came in higher than we were forecasting or estimating. So, what we intend to do is go back on the street with a revised scope of work," he said Tuesday.

That means that some of the work will be done this summer, and the rest will have to wait until next year. That also means the pool will not shut down for four months as originally planned.

The 50-metre pool, built in 1967, needs renovation particularly to its ventilation and filtration systems. The municipality had hoped to do all the work at once in order to reduce disruption.

The change to the construction schedule has created confusion for the various groups that use the Centennial Pool.

Barb Hill-Taylor, co-president of the Halifax Trojan Aquatic Club, said the news comes a little too late for many of her swimmers because alternate arrangements have already been made.

The club signed a contract with Dalhousie University for swimming time when it was told Centennial would be shut down for four months. 

"We have a commitment at Dalplex. Dalplex graciously found us room - lane space is tight. What we did do was spread our team out and take a few practices back at Centennial on top of what we have at Dalplex," she said.

Despite the confusion and some extra costs, Hill-Taylor said her club understands that the work must be done at the Centennial Pool and members are looking forward to a refreshed pool.

The retrofit program is meant to extend the life of the building for another 20 years, and reduce operating expenditures.

The federal government has contributed $1 million to the project under Canada's Economic Action Plan.