East Potomac Park Pool Closes – But For How Long?

Photo by PoPville flickr user nici161

Update from DPR:

“In the early spring, East Potomac suffered a structural failure which jeopardized the facility from opening this summer at all. DGS and DPR retained an engineer to provide an assessment of the structure who then made recommendations for a temporarily fix to safely get guests through the summer.

This facility is over 75 years old and with the current state of the infrastructure, it will take us longer than normal to properly winterize the building. If we do not take the time to winterize it properly, we risk a catastrophic failure and the facility being unusable for a very long time. We are all trying to avoid that. To ensure we have enough time to winterize it, the facility will close on September 30th which is still three weeks longer than most municipal pools on the east coast.”

A reader sends an update on the beloved East Potomac Park Pool:

“This is the infamous Fenty $50k heater pool. It really is a (albeit beat-up) gem. DPS abruptly closed it today and with apparent plans to demolish and rebuilt but with insufficient money to do so.”

OP also shares a detailed note from Council Member Brianne Nadeau:

A complete feasibility study was completed for the site and has been determined that:

The existing pool and deck was built in 1935 and has exceeded its life cycle of 75 years.
The pump room and underside of the pool deck show significant structural fatigue.
The existing pool configuration has a maximum dept of 7 feet with an abandoned diving well and falls short of the international standard for a 50 meter length.
The existing pool is not ADA accessible.
The existing pool house meets current guest capacity, but the current space configuration does not meet ADA compliance for plumbing fixtures or current code requirements.
The pool guest facilities have passed the mid-life cycle, approximately 44 yrs.
The current facility’s operations space does not meet the vision and function of a world-class facility.

So for all these reasons and others, DPR and DGS along with the Civil Engineers have determined that more than 80% of the facility needs to be demolished to meet DPR’s health, safety and function.

DPR/DGS has been working with NPS ( as the property still beings to them, the District is leasing the property) on the initial feasibility, planning and conceptual design of the pool and pool house. The concept was recently approved by the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA). Our current budget is $3M. The Feasibility study shows that we need an additional $9M to make the above changes. DPR/DGS is making a request for FY17 funds to continue and carry out the changes above to ensure that all District residents have a safe and fun experience at the East Potomac pool for the next 75 years.

If the full funds are given to DPR, then we will start the full design and construction process.

**please note that the Capital Construction team at DPR and DGS has no intention to close the pool this year for the above renovations due to limited funding, however the current state of the pool ( the pump room, and pool deck need emergency maintenance and the pool may not be suitable for use until repaired)

Hope this is helpful. I’ll be working with my colleagues during the budgeting process to allocate the requested funds.

10 Comment

  • Cant they use a donation by Speedo or Nike? Or a fundraiser site?

    • Thanks for the link.

      While I like the arched entrance, there are problems. In particular, the starting blocks are on the bulkhead.

      If you ever worked a meet, you would immediately understand why this is a problem. The area around the blocks are crowded, with swimmers coming and going, 3 timers per lane, and USA swimming judges (S&T and CJ). There can easily be 10 people per lane, or a total of 80 people on the bulkhead, trying to move about. This is a crowded, dangerous situation.

      The Epply Natatorium at the University of Maryland has a similar design, with starting blocks on the bulkhead. During a meet, it is a disaster. I can’t think of any other pool with this mistake.

      Has anybody at DCPR aquatics been regarding the plans? I should think they would make some changes.

  • Given the miserable state of the showers, water heater, facilities in the current state of the art swimming pool (Wilson pool), I can’t imagine that DPR will do a great job with this one either. So much for A charming run down perfectly serviceable not overdone DC facility.

  • I hope they go through with the renovation. How cool would it be to have a world-class competition pool with a view of the Washington Monument? This could be a big win for DC tourism. Besides, the DC metro area has many world-class swimmers (Ledecky, Seliskar, and others) but very few 50-meter pools for training and competition.

    Did I read correctly that the existing pool was not actually 50 meters long?!?

  • This is so turdy. If we even get a renovated pool in 2 years, they are putting a partition in the middle and chopping it to 25 meters. It will be millions over budget. Why do we need a diving board?

    In typical DC fashion, only a whiff of public notice. Brianne Nadeau should be ashamed of herself. She was a member of DC Tri Club and purportedly used members to support her City Council bid. She failed to reach out to the triathlon community and notify them of the pending changes or ask their opinion about the facility. But, now, she’s talking via Popville? Did she circulate her thoughts in June 2015 when DPR/NPS published the new E. Potomac Pool design? Stay in the slow lane, Brianne along with the rest of CC.

  • How does it cost $9 million to build a outdoor pool?


  • Wishful thinking on my part, but if they are going to plunk millions into this renovation (which is actually more of a rebuild and take years), why not just build new outdoor facility with a a competition-ready, 50m pool? This could leave us the only actual outdoor lap pool in the city while the new one is built. First world problem, i know, I really hate the thought on not having the EP for an outdoor workout.

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