Iola pool to hold water year-round

By BOB JOHNSON
Register City Editor

Register/Richard Luken
Standing water left in the Iola Municipal Pool, which has been closed since August, has caught the attention of passersby at Iola’s Riverside Park. The water is kept in the pool for protection against underground water pressure.

For Iolans who have wondered why water remains in the swimming pool in Riverside Park, and will throughout the winter, there are three reasons, Luke Bycroft, recreation director, said.
The water counteracts hydrostatic pressure from groundwater that seeps through an underlying level of gravel and rises and falls with the amount of water in the Neosho River.
“If we didn’t keep water in the pool, the shell of the pool actually could float if the pressure became too great,” Bycroft said, a condition that extensively damaged the old pool during the 2007 flood.
The over-winter water level will be kept four inches below grated openings that permit water from a full pool to flow into holding tanks for the slides. Draining is required after rains, which have come frequently this fall.
A second reason is for safety’s sake.
“The slope going to the deep end is so steep that if someone were to fall into the pool, they couldn’t get out” without having the water to support them, Bycroft said. “When the deep end was painted, the workers had to support themselves with ropes on the slope.”
Finally, the water will protect paint on the bottom of the pool and extends its life, Bycroft said.
The pool replaced one built in the 1930s. Bycroft said attendance in the first year totaled 28,933.