Aquatic Center HVAC & Boiler Replacement Begins Mid-August


The Larry Walkup Aquatic Center will close to the public at 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 15 until mid-November for a project to replace the HVAC system and boilers. 

The project will begin Aug. 18 immediately after the 40th Annual Triathlon, when the Aquatic Center normally closes two weeks for annual maintenance. All of the affected groups have been informed of this closure as early as the fall of 2013.

The purpose of the project is to replace the pool boilers and HVAC system, which are at the end of their expected life and install more energy efficient systems.

The Aquatics Center first opened in April 1988 and most of the mechanical equipment is 26 years old and at the end of its service life. An integrated maintenance plan and an energy audit identified this project as a priority in the ongoing building maintenance plan. The timing of this project has become more urgent as the condition of the boiler serving the Olympic pool has deteriorated in the past year and is questionable on how long it will last. There are no replacement parts for some of the boiler’s components.  

The project budget is $2.2 million and is funded through the ongoing Major Facility Maintenance Program. The work to be performed includes replacing the Olympic pool and therapy pool boilers, HVAC boiler, air handlers for the natatorium, HVAC equipment and ducting for the entrance and offices, and controls. The system will be energy efficient with three high efficiency boilers on a loop, Energy Recovery Ventilators on two of the air handlers, a heat pump for the office area HVAC that utilizes the pool water as a heat sink, and programmable digital controls. Three new large ceiling fans will also be installed above the pool for air movement improving comfort minimizing the need for larger air handling equipment. 

The project is planned to take approximately three months with the pool reopening mid-November. The duration of the project is longer from the originally estimated two months because upon completing design drawings it became apparent that the magnitude of this work could not be completed in the original estimated time. One example is  the air handler for the natatorium that fills a room on the upper level will have to be removed, a new one lifted in pieces by a crane, fit through a 6 foot by 10 foot opening, and assembled inside.

To reduce this project duration would require an excessive increase in cost. Since there may be unexpected conditions found during the remodel work, the completion date is an estimate. The County and the contractor will work diligently to keep the closure time to a minimum. The re-opening date will be announced at least two weeks in advance, using announcements will be made in local media, the County’s webpage and banners on the building.

The dates of this closure were selected to reduce the impact to the swim teams. The pool closure is at the end of the swim club summer Long Course season with Championship competition in August allowing swim training in the Long Course up until the event. The closure will affect the beginning of fall short course season, but should provide ample training time at the Aquatic Center prior to short course championships. The closure will extend into the high school swim season as well. Pass holders can swim at the Barranca Mesa 6-10:15 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 pm., Monday through Friday after Labor Day, Sept. 1, as weather allows. 

Since the Aquatics Center will be closed until mid-November, there may be a number of days in the fall that the Barranca Mesa Pool is not available due to cooler weather. Patrons holding 3-month or annual passes not using a County rented pool may have their expiration dates extended by an amount of time equal to the time the facility is closed to the public. The County will release more information on rented facilities and passes as the season progresses. Swim teams are already in the process of making arrangements with local outdoor pools or plan to travel to Pojoaque and Santa Fe for training.

Recreation staff with offices in the building are being relocated to the Municipal Building or Pajarito Cliffs Site. During the closure, the public will be able to register for Recreation programs, book outdoor facilities such as Ashley Pond Park, or purchase swim passes by visiting Suite 150 at the Municipal Building in downtown Los Alamos.   

For updates on the project, visit the County Projects webpage at Direct questions to the Capital Projects & Facilities Department at 505.662.8120.

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