The swimming pool at American Legion Post No. 62 is closed because of a failed heat exchanger. Officials do not know when the pool will reopen.

Photo by Hans Hallgren

The swimming pool at American Legion Post No. 62 is closed because of a failed heat exchanger. Officials do not know when the pool will reopen.

Cooled down

American Legion swimming pool temporarily closed

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— With two hip replacements and a knee replacement, senior Bobbie Harper enjoys the soothing elements of the heated swimming pool at American Legion Post No. 62.

Lately, however, the water has been colder than she would like.

A broken heat exchanger has resulted in the pool's closure until further notice, said Bill Harding, junior vice commander for the American Legion. Without a functioning heat exchanger, the pool water will drop in temperature every day, violating the Legion's lease on the building, which requires the pool temperature to stay within the 80-degree range.

Harding explained that the group would rather get a new unit than a temporary replacement.

"We want to get a good one, because the one we have is 23 years old," Harding said. "We need one with a warranty and increased BTUs. Spa Country quoted us a price, but we couldn't vote on it just yet, because not enough people were present. Once we can hold a quorum and vote, we'll be able to get started installing the new heat exchanger."

American Legion commander Mel Shockley was out of town during the discussion. The vote will be able to commence once he returns next week.

"We do want everyone to know that the chemicals and sanitary elements of the pool are fine," Harding said. "The only problem is the heat."

The pool's heat exchanger was found broken Monday before the first session of the Arthritis Foundation Aquatics, sponsored by the Northwest Colorado Visiting Nurse Association.

The seniors in attendance at the 9 a.m. event continued their aquatic activities that day regardless, since the temperature was only slightly lower than the desired 83 degrees.

"It's not that bad once you get going and warm up a little bit," Harper said. "I don't think I'd want to do it every day like that, but getting in the hot tub afterwards makes it better."

Aquatics are part of the VNA's Aging Well program, directed toward people who are "age 50 and better." Tammy Workman, assistant manager of Trapper Health Club, is the instructor for the sessions.

"The pool problem is kind of a bum deal," Workman said. "Some of the people were disappointed, because they had been so excited about these classes. It's a great program for people with arthritis because the buoyancy of the water helps the joints. Exercising in a pool can be better than land because there's much less bodily compression."

Workman hopes to have the pool facilities available to her class as soon as possible.

"The Legion is doing everything they can to get it back on track, so we'll just have to start it up again once the pool is between 83 and 88 degrees," she said.

Cathy Vanatta, VNA's Moffat County Senior Outreach coordinator, oversees the Aging Well program. She does not see the pool's temporary unavailability as a great hindrance.

"It's just a little bump in the road," Vanatta said. "I'm assuming that the Legion will have it repaired as fast as they can."

Andy Bockelman can be reached at 875-1796.

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