The flagship new swimming pool at Chase Leisure Centre will finally open tomorrow after a two-year shutdown – and eight months behind schedule following a series of setbacks.
Leisure boss Christine Mitchell said that despite the delays the new suite, part of a £6.5 million overhaul of the centre, had “exceeded expectations”.
The pool closed in April 2011 for what had been due to be a 15-month works programme but problems emerged with the tiling just before it had been due to re-open in August.
Cabinet members were looking round the hi-tech facility today ahead of the official launch tomorrow at noon.
It follows weeks of tests by the contractor GF Tomlinson and the council’s professional advisors to ensure the swimming pool were ready for use.
The main pool boasts a moveable floor which can be highered or lowered to create different depths. And new changing rooms have been built at poolside. But difficulties emerged when workmen heated the filled pool and found that the expansion caused by the rise in temperature put stress on the joints, resulting in cracks.
Clubs have been forced to book alternative pools during the delays. Lessons were transferred to Rugeley Leisure Centre in Burnthill Lane, with some lessons also taking place at Cannock Chase and Cheslyn Hay schools.
The six-lane, 25-metre competition-standard baths with a 200-seat spectator gallery had been scheduled to open on August 8 to lie in with the Olympics and the school summer holidays. It was billed as the jewel in the crown of the transformation. The defect came to light with just a month to go.
Councillor Mitchell said: “This is now a wonderful new facility.”