Project Profile: Druid Hill Park Pool
Scope of work: Renovation, expansion of city pool
BC&E Member companies involved: Baumgartner, Diversified Safety Services, Froehling & Robertson, G.H. Nitzel, GWWO Architects, Hatzel & Buehler, IronShore Contracting, MK Consulting Engineers, Plano-Coudon Construction
More than two years of specialized construction work undoubtedly made crowds of Baltimoreans happy in July when temperatures soared into the 90s. The renovated and dramatically improved Druid Hill Park Pool had reopened just in time for the summer.
The new facility features a competition-sized pool, a kids’ pool, water tables for small children and several water-park-style amenities, including three water slides, several water-spray features, basketball hoops within the pool and a 16-foot-high rock climbing wall that lets climbers jump off into the water.
However, creating those facilities, along with new locker/shower rooms and offices, was a complex undertaking.
“There were unknown things everywhere on that site,” said Thomas Lotz, Superintendent at Plano-Coudon Construction.
The pool, which was originally built in the 1890s, had gone through multiple iterations over the decades and those projects had left some surprises in their wake. When crews began the partial demolition of the existing 1980s lap pool, they discovered additional pool decks, walls and floors (likely from the 1950s and the turn of the century) hidden beneath. In addition to increasing the demolition work, the discoveries generated some structural issues. To build the new pool to competition size, crews had to remove previous pool flooring.
“But that meant your pool walls wouldn’t be supported. They would be basically dangling in the air,” said Ethan High, Project Engineer at Plano-Coudon. To stabilize the walls, “we had to make a two-foot by 1.5-foot pier about every six feet that would rest beneath the pool wall and hold it while we demo-ed the old pool floor, put in new drains and gravel, and repoured the floor.”
Work to install a backup drain for the pool was interrupted when crews “broke through a 30-inch stormwater line which wasn’t shown on any drawings,” Lotz said.
Even construction of a building to house locker rooms and showers presented a challenge.
“We had to remove seven feet of soil within the building footprint because it was junk fill that had been put there years ago,” Lotz said. “It was hundreds of truckloads of soil hauled out and new soil brought in just to get us back to square one. We spent weeks just moving soil.”
The efforts, however, created an oasis in the middle of a hot city. The project, which included 80,000 square feet of concrete, even included “a SunDek texture which is non-slip and keeps the pool deck 10 degrees cooler than typical concrete,” High said. “The colors and design that went into the pool deck are also super cool.”