The Simsbury Parks and Recreation Department is eagerly awaiting the completion of the renovation project at Simsbury Farms, which is on schedule to reopen in June.
The approximately $2.8 million project will enhance the visual appearance of the complex while streamlining traffic flow and improving access for handicapped residents. The project was approved last year as a Capital Improvement Plan project in the fiscal year 2011-2012 budget.
"All of the changes we've made are to make it better for the family," Recreation Supervisor John Thibeault said.
Once the project is complete, residents visiting Simsbury Farms to use the swimming pools will no longer need to enter the building through the main entrance. Instead a second entrance is under construction where visitors will have direct access to the lifeguard station and pool deck.
The main building will feature 8 private changing rooms/bathrooms allowing parents to accompany their children while getting ready to use the swimming pools. Four of the new rooms will feature showers. Formerly the complex had just two changing rooms: one for men and one for women.
"What we saw over the years was more dads bringing their daughters and mothers bringing sons to the pool," Thibeault said. Parents would have to meet their children on the pool deck after they finished in the changing rooms.
"It just wasn't really working anymore," Thibeault said.
In addition to the private rooms, there will also be two semi-private changing areas for visitors who don't need full privacy. Thibeault hopes that the changes will improve the long lines and congestion that often occurred when visitors entered only through the main entrance.
The project will also include a new snack stand to be located on the lower level of the pool deck providing access to handicapped and wheelchair-bound visitors. The former snack stand location was on the second floor making it inaccessible to these residents.
The pool deck will also look significantly different after walls separating the three main pools have been torn down. The wall around the children's pool will remain due to legal restrictions. Crews are currently resurfacing the concrete pool deck but no changes have been made to the pools.
Other changes include the addition of two new team locker rooms for the ice rink, a new officials room, a new warming area, and a new guard shack. A new elevator will also improve handicapped access to the ice rink.
Construction began in late October and is on schedule to be completed by the end of May or early June. Thibeault said the pools are set to open on June 16.
This year the recreation department will implement a new membership pass system that will use magnetic strip technology rather than the photo ID passes used in the past. Season passes are currently on sale for the 2012 summer season. The costs are $105 for a family of four, $60 for an individual, $30 for seniors, or visitors can purchase daily passes. Season passes can be purchased online at the Simsbury Recreation Department website.