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High school pool project completes first phase

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The Badger Natatorium pool was filled one last time.

The natatorium’s demolition project on the Hobbs High School campus finished its first phase Wednesday with the permanent fill of the pool. Demolition of the natatorium’s two locker rooms/bathrooms, the concrete deck around the pool and items from the pool’s water pump were dumped into the hollow opening before being poured with a concrete-like liquid that will seal the pool permanently.

The status of the project was part of Tuesday’s HMS school board meeting by Asst. Supt. of Operations Gene Strickland. The project is expected to be complete by the start of the 2019-20 school year. Lasco Construction was awarded $3.6 million for the demolition and remodel. Along with a practice area for the wrestling team and cheerleading squads, additional locker rooms will be built in for both groups. The natatorium shares a wall with the school volleyball and girls basketball programs, which will also have their locker rooms remodeled and a classroom will be added. The old entrance area to the natatorium will become the school’s new athletic director’s office, which currently sits across the hall from the high school office.

Strickland said the demolition crew wanted all the demoed material in the pool, creating structural integrity for when the cement-type liquid is poured in to fill the pool. He told the board the product used is called a ConDeck flowable fill and contains cement, fly ash, water and foam. The company filling the pool is ConDeck Corporation of Albuquerque. The fill been used in projects involving pipe abandonment, roadway fills and plaza deck projects.

“A hose is put into the pool and filled with this substance that seeps into all of the nooks and crannies and cavities and within 12 hours you can walk on it and begin construction on it,” Strickland said. “It has a PSI (per square inch unit of pressure) of around 4,000 pounds.” 

Some of the board members stated they would have liked to have seen the process take place and school board president Gary Eidson commented that no compaction was needed in the pool’s fill.

“We will do some compaction outside of the pool where the pool deck came from,” Strickland said. “It’s just red dirt. We will compact that before we pour a new slab on top of all of that.”

Strickland said by dumping all of the demoed material from the deck, bathrooms and pump room into the pool, the school district saved about $150,000. 

On Thursday, Hobbs Schools superintendent TJ Parks got his first look at the demolition project. By then the pool had been filled with the mixture and was drying quickly.

The school’s usage of the pool outside of the Eagles swim team had diminished over the years Parks said. There was a decrease of the sport in the school’s PE curriculum. Once the Center of Recreational Excellence (CORE) opened the school’s swim team moved to use that facility. The City’s night swim, lap swim and any classes were also moved to the CORE. 

Strickland said on Friday, LASCO Construction workers had equipment inside the natatorium tearing down the ceiling material.

Todd Bailey can be reached at editor@hobbsnews.com.

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