MADISON, Ala. - Pool space is scarce in Madison, but there is a temporary effort underway to get more lanes this school year.
When a proposal to create a recreation campus in Madison failed last year, it became evident that the city would need another way to prevent pool overcrowding as the city's winter league and high school swimming and diving teams fought for space to practice. During the school year in Madison, indoor pool space is packed.
Since then, Madison's city council has worked with the school system, choosing a proposal that city administrator Taylor Edge created as a temporary fix: an air supported structure like the one pictured on the left, over Dublin's outdoor pool.
"It is in essence going to double the mount of water space that we have available," said Edge on Monday.
Monday the city council approved some tweaks to a design that is already in the works. They voted on a change order to add double doors and LED lights for efficiency.
Edge said this solution is ideal for Madison's current needs.
"We are very optimistic that it is going to solve all of our water issues," he said.
Edge believes it will work well, and be a good environment for students to practice in the winter.
"It has its own fans and heating units that blow air into it much like a balloon," he said, "and the air pressure keeps the dome covered. It's climate controlled there. We are installing a new boiler for the water in the pool."
There is some construction that will need to take place, though.
"We will need to dig a trench around the entire perimeter of the pool to install reinforced concrete and some concrete to lay the anchoring system for the bubble," he said.
The school system asked for the city to wait on the necessary construction to extend the pool deck and fencing until after the September meets are finished. The city has agreed.
Construction is scheduled for October, and the "bubble" will be ready in November, said Edge.
But this is not a forever fix. The city still needs a new pool, but right now that costs a lot of money Madison is not ready or able to spend.
Edge is optimistic though.
"It's a short term solution but we also see it being a great short term solution," he said.