General contractor Stalco Construction has completed a $7.2 million renovation of the Borough of Manhattan Community College’s (BMCC’s) aquatics center, including the 220,000-gallon pool. The Dormitory Authority of the State of New York (DASNY) served as the project manager. BMCC is part of the City University of New York (CUNY) system.

The aquatics center is located in the main campus complex on Harrison Street and the West Side Highway in lower Manhattan, with an entrance at 77 Harrison Street. The 4,575-square foot pool features six competition lanes, each of which is six feet wide and 25 yards long.

 “We performed extensive aesthetic and infrastructure renovations to the 10,500-square foot facility, including work on the steampipe network and the concrete structural system underneath the pool,” says Kevin G. Harney, Stalco’s principal and CFO.

While the pool was taken out of service during construction, the team was working during the school year — as well as over holidays — in an occupied building on a busy college campus within a crowded city. Thus, security of access and construction safety were of the utmost importance.

“First, we completely fenced off the entire construction area, making sure students and faculty could not enter the site," says Stalco’s Christopher Caulfield, a superintendent on the project. "The next step was to remove two large five-by-twelve-foot window panes from the pool area on the Harrison Street side. With this, we created independent access to the construction area." 

The Stalco team was careful to ensure that this independent access did not interfere with foot traffic. In addition to Stalco, the project team included construction manager AECOM; the architect and engineer of record was MP Engineers and Architects; Genesys Engineering P.C. was the mechanical, electrical and plumbing (MEP) engineer; Eldor Contracting Corporation was the electrical contractor; Premier Mechanical Services served as mechanical contractor; ARA Plumbing Corp. was the plumbing contractor; and the waterproofing and tile work subcontractor was Baybrent Tile Corporation.

Scope of work                               

The Stalco team replaced or repaired the steampipes, including replacing two 14-inch steam lines and one 12-inch steam line of about 20 feet long. In addition, Stalco made extensive concrete repairs on the south and west sides of the pool, using Sika Duoflex SL (a two-component, self-leveling, polysulfide sealant), Sika Armatec 110 EpoCem (bonding agent), and SikaGrout 328 (a high-performance grout with extended working time) to repair cracks. The scope also included upgrading the HVAC systems.

Stalco installed a new Hanovia Photon II ultraviolet dechlorination and water treatment system, and a state-of-the-art Neptune-Benson’s Defender automatic regenerative media filtration system (model SP-33-48-732) that ensures cleaner water for swimmers. The latter system means BMCC does not have to discharge as much pool water or use as many chemicals, which will save money and lessen the facility’s impact on the environment. The pH level is controlled through the LMI Milton Roy Series B electronic metering acid pumps. 

Similarly, the team installed new motorized vinyl sheathing that will cover the pool when it is not in operation.

“The sheathing not only prevents water and heat loss, but it also reduces humidity and wear and tear on the HVAC systems," says Erik Rappel, Stalco’s project manager. "BMCC expects to save over 4,400 kW of electricity this way each year, which translates to a savings of nearly $41,000, not to mention less of an environmental burden.”

Further, Stalco removed all of the existing tiles — those in the pool and those on the walkways around the pool — and installed new, 2-inch-by-two-inch tile from Daltile. As BMCC’s official colors are blue and orange, the team used Daltile in D621 (Nautical Blue) and D622 (Clementine).

“To install the tiles, we used a waterproof membrane first, then a setting bed, then a thin-set, then tiles, and then grout," Rappel says. "We tiled a total of 10,500 square feet, including in the pool — both vertical and horizontal surfaces — and on the 'dry' surfaces around the pool".

The pool itself has both shallow and deep ends. In the pool, Stalco used the H.B. Fuller Company’s products, including Hydraflex for the waterproofing layer and Power Grout to grout the tiles. Products used for the tile on deck were from LATICRETE International. Specifically, the team used Hydro Ban for the waterproofing layer, as it is a thin, load-bearing waterproofing membrane that is a single-component self-curing liquid rubber polymer that forms a flexible, seamless waterproofing membrane. The workers also used Laticrete 3701 thick bed mortar.

The scope of work also included building a new staff office, mounting all-new diving platforms, renovating a storage room, and installing two new ADA-compliant S.R. Smith’s handicapped lifts to accommodate swimmers in wheelchairs. The lifts are individually operated with a system of button controls. The team installed a competition-level timing system with touchpads, by Colorado Time.

For the most part, the lighting above the pool remains the same.

“We cleaned and, where necessary, repaired the existing fixtures, which are long tubular lights designed for installation over difficult-to-access areas,” says Adele Todisco, Stalco’s assistant project manager.

The lighting sources are located on both ends of the long tubes, while a series of mirrors and diffusers in the middle portion of the tube serve to spread the light throughout. Maintenance workers simply access the lighting sources at each end from the walkways around the pool when bulbs need to be changed. However, the team did install a new array of emergency lights.

Case study courtesy of Wilk Marketing Communications.