Opening Day of New Underwood Pool All Depends on the Weather

The commute for construction supervisor Ernie Raney to his newest assignment can’t be beat.

He leaves his house on Lincoln Street, heads to School Street, then down Cottage Street and there he is, at the site of the new Underwood Pool.

“Really close,” said Raney, who is currently overseeing large earth moving equipment remove the final concrete remains of the historic pool – the oldest outdoor municipal pool in the US which opened in 1912 two months after the sinking of the Titanic and the first game at Fenway Park – as the team begins moving through its list of objectives.

“Right now I have five or six guys doing the demolition,” said Raney, who works for general contractor New England Builders and Contractors of Methuen.

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After bringing in equipment and fencing in the construction site on Monday, Nov. 2, the demolition company made quick work of the 102-year-old bathhouse and pool. Excavators have ripped out the pump room and tore out trees along Cottage Street. On Wednesday, Nov. 12, crews removed large trees along Concord Avenue.

After the demolition process, next for Raney is laying the foundation for the bathhouses.

Then, it’s all about the weather – in particulate, a warmish forecast – which will determine if the construction team will finish the $5.5 million complex by early/mid-July, which Raney said is the “ideal” completion date.

“If we have relatively normal temperatures, we’ll have the foundations done. And we’ll keep going as long as the weather holds out,” said Raney.

“If the temperatures holdout, we could continue work for the next two months,” the Belmont resident said. Most of that work will be framing the bathhouses.

But Raney said the major work on the pools will need to wait until the spring of 2015 due to the material being used.

“Winter isn’t the time to pour concrete for an outdoor pool,” said Raney.

Once the temperatures rise, the majority of the work will be done; pouring and curing the concrete, laying the plumbing, installing fixtures and installing the filter systems.

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“It will be very busy in the spring, it’s when we will have the most guys here on site,” said Raney.

In the next week, the public will have two chances to learn more about the construction and the time frame it is working under:

• The Underwood Pool Building Committee will hold a public meeting on Thursday, Nov. 20, at 7 p.m., in the Assembly Room at the Belmont Public Library, where the members of the construction team will be introduced and answer questions.

• The Building Committee and the Belmont Board of Selectmen invite the public to the official groundbreaking ceremony for the new pool complex on Friday, Nov. 21 at 8:15 a.m. at the construction site.

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