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Renovations Coming to Lewis Wetzel Swimming Pool

By Staff | May 21, 2015

New Martinsville’s Lewis Wetzel Swimming Pool will soon be taking on a new and exciting look.

The renovations will begin soon and continue over the next couple of months. During a public meeting held on Monday, May 11, Parks and Recreation Director Beverly Gibb presented the updated swimming pool plans to members of the public, city council, Parks and Recreation Commission and the Building Commission. The vote was unanimous to allow Gibb to put the project out for bid.

Gibb has worked with HAYS Landscape Architecture Studio of St. Clairsville to develop the design specifications for the project. The plans must also be stamped by a certified engineer, as well as the state health inspector. It is anticipated to go out for bid within the next week.

The existing north end of the pool, currently three feet deep, will be extended north approximately 12 feet, allowing for zero depth entry. Several water spraying/spilling features will be installed down the length of the slope. The pool walls and floor will be constructed of plaster which creates a much cleaner and smoother finish. By pouring the new floor and walls inside the existing shell, the pool becomes like new without the added cost of tearing out the entire structure. A gutter system will be installed to replace the existing skimmers. Gutters, in addition to creating a cleaner water surface, cut down on the wave action of the water. Waves distort the water making it more difficult to view the bottom of the pool.

The pool will be ADA accessible with the walk-in ramp and a set of transfer steps being added. The 11 feet well will be brought up, making the deepest area of the water just under five feet. This trend is happening in pools all over the country. It creates more useable water area. People feel more comfortable spending time in the water where they are able to touch the bottom, if only for a moment.

A larger water slide will be constructed on the west side of the pool. A new filtration system will be constructed and the bath house will receive a makeover as well.

Funding for this project will be made available through bonds with the payments being made by the hotel/motel tax collected by the city.

“We are sorry for any inconvenience caused by not opening Lewis-Wetzel Pool on time this summer,” stated Gibb.

“The majority of people that I have talked with about the renovations are very understanding and excited for the changes to occur. So much relies on the on the weather and the dependence of contractor and sub-contractor work schedules that I just cannot give a definite completion date. Once the bids are in and awarded, the completion date will become more of a known factor.”

Gibb continued, “I know there are rumors that go viral with any public project, especially one so visual and large. I would encourage anyone that does have questions or comments to contact our department at 304-455-9130. The NM Parks Facebook page is also a good way to stay on top the of the improvements. As always, we want to make sure people receive the correct information on all of our facilities, programs and projects.”

The New Martinsville Parks and Recreation Facebook page can be accessed at “N.m. Parks”

Gibb stated to the Wetzel Chronicle that it is estimated that the Lewis-Wetzel park project will cost an estimated $800,000 to $900,000. Comparison-wise, a completely new facility will be $2 million. Gibb said she is leery of giving any set cost however, due to the unpredictability of what bids will be received what troubles might be encountered during the work process. Likewise, she did not give any numbers regarding bonds.

The January 2015 donation from the Wetzel County Commission will also assist the New Martinsville Parks and Recreation with their new pool endeavors.

Director Gibb had requested $40,000 a year, for the next five years, from the commission at the commission’s Dec. 2, 2014 meeting.

However, the commission was not sure if they could grant that specific request, as it would be putting the next commission in debt. It was announced in January 2015 that the commission would give the parks and recreation department a $125,000 donation to help with upgrades.

When asked about the location of the renovations being at Lewis-Wetzel, and the possible issue of ducks or geese from the pond leaving waste in the pool, Gibb stated that New Martinsville Parks and Recreation does not have anymore of an issue with ducks than other facilities, adding that she did not want to talk negatively about other facilities though.

Gibb explained that she would like to see Lewis-Wetzel pool open by the end of August “but can’t make any promises.” In the meantime, New Martinsville Parks and Recreation is hoping to make up for the lack of a pool this summer.

“We have huge plans. Our plate is really full of programs,” Gibb remarked.

When giving an update to the Wetzel County Commission on Tuesday, May 12, Gibb explained that the parks and recreation department would also soon be working on maintenance, along with cleaning and painting of the parks.

On the N.M. Parks Facebook page, it was noted that the parks department “certainly understands why people are frustrated with the idea of Lewis-Wetzel Pool not opening for the season.

“It is also frustrating for our department. Please know that, like all projects we work with, the pool renovations are moving as quickly as we have control over,” the post further stated.