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Ready to dive in? Century High School pool on the verge of completion

It took nearly three days to fill the pool with 450,000 gallons of water.

Century High School Swimming Pool
Finishing touches are made to the new Century High School swimming pool Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022, in Rochester.
Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin
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ROCHESTER – If you go to a hip-enough brewery, they will fill your beer from the bottom up. The bartender selects a glass with a hole in the bottom which is encircled by a metal ring. They place the glass on top of a dispenser and the beer slowly rises from the bottom to the top. A magnet then covers the hole in the bottom of the glass, sealing the beer in.

While the exact logistics may not be the same, the process is not unlike what it took to fill the brand new swimming pool at Century High School. They did it from the bottom up.

Scott Sherden, director of operations, spoke about the project Tuesday night. While the pool is not 100% ready for the first swimmers to dive in, that milestone is just around the corner.

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“The pool isn’t ready to dip your toe in yet; it’s pretty icy when they first put it in there,” Sherden said. “Once they get it commissioned and get the heater going, it’ll heat up fairly quickly.”

The commissioning process Sherden mentioned refers to the fact that the district has to have someone come to start the boilers and filtration system.

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According to RPS Communications Director Mamisoa Knutson, the pool will have an inspection next week. If everything goes as it should, the pool will be ready for use as soon as Thursday, Dec. 1.

It took nearly three days to fill the pool with 450,000 gallons of water. For perspective, that is nearly 10-times the capacity of the corn water tower in southeast Rochester. And as discussed, they filled the pool from the bottom up, basically reversing the process for emptying the pool.

"It's connected to the water source and also the drain," said Tom Leimer with Knutson Construction. "If the water level has to go up or whatever, they can bottom fill it."

Century High School Swimming Pool
Finishing touches are made to the new Century High School swimming pool Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022, in Rochester.
Joe Ahlquist / Post Bulletin

Considering it takes nearly half a million gallons to fill, the district doesn’t plan on swapping out the water too terribly often. Knutson said the district only refills the pool when it needs maintenance. She then said they typically regrout the pool every eight to 10 years.

The construction of the pool was one of the projects funded by voters during the 2019 referendum. The cost of the Century pool project is approximately $16.2 million, according to the presentation Sherden gave Tuesday.

The eight-lane pool itself measures 119 feet by 64 feet. It’s 3.5 feet deep on the shallow end and 12.5 feet on the deep end.

The bleachers can seat 325 people.

A unique part of the Century pool is that it has a bulkhead, which is a movable platform that spans the width of the pool dividing it into two parts. According to Sherden, that will allow swimmers to practice on one side of the pool, while divers use the other.

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“That makes the pool a lot more creative,” Sherden said. “It’s the only one we have in all of our pools."

Jordan Shearer covers K-12 education for the Post Bulletin. A Rochester native, he graduated from Bemidji State University in 2013 before heading out to write for a small newsroom in the boonies of western Nebraska. Bringing things full circle, he returned to Rochester in 2020 just shy of a decade after leaving. Readers can reach Jordan at 507-285-7710 or jshearer@postbulletin.com.
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