Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Workers from A-1 Construction work on the tile at the bottom of the Palolo Valley District Pool. The pool has been closed for a year.

Tile problems further delay
reopening of Palolo Pool

Twelve-year-old Ikaika Rivera said he is disappointed that his summer came and went without a chance to cool off in the Palolo Valley District Pool.

"It's just so hot. There's no pool to swim in to make us cooler," said Rivera, who would normally go to the pool twice a week. "Since the pool is closed, there is nothing to do, just stay home."

This summer children have had to play in the rain or use water hoses to escape the heat, said Palolo Valley Homes resident Darnell Silva.

Ikaika and hundreds of other neighborhood children, who are scheduled to start the 2004-2005 school year at Palolo Elementary School and Jarrett Middle School on Monday, were forced to find other alternatives to cool off from the heat because of delays in retiling work due to rainy weather and new discoveries of more defective work at the Palolo Pool.

Tim Steinberger, director of the city Department of Design and Construction, said a consultant with Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates Inc., discovered more of the pool that needed to be retiled during a final inspection of the pool late last week.

"It is really frustrating," said Steinberger.

Steinberger earlier anticipated the reopening of the pool this week. He said more tiles weren't sticking properly to the bottom of the pool.

"The problem is the glue or cement that hold the tiles is not bonding well," said Steinberger.

The pool has been closed for a year for repair and renovation work. It was expected to open in February, but the city determined that the work done by KD Construction Inc.'s subcontractor, A-1 Construction, was unacceptable.

A dispute between KD Construction and the subcontractor further delayed the reopening of the pool.

The city originally wanted the entire pool floor to be retiled, but A-1 Construction had said only a portion of it needed to be redone. Contractors returned in mid-July after they reached an agreement with the city to retile parts of the pool.

Colin Leong of KD Construction said the company completed retiling work to the additional areas yesterday and are waiting for good weather to apply sealant to the expansion joint in the middle of the pool floor.

Contractors have been hampered by rain since they returned to the Palolo Pool.

"That needs to be dried out before we fix it," said Leong. "If we just get two good dry days, then we could do it ... Once the sealant is installed, we can count down from there."

Palolo Homes resident Le Thongsamouth said the pool is the only place in their neighborhood where her daughter and friends can enjoy themselves.

"Everything else is so far from here," said Thongsamouth.

Her 8-year-old daughter, Michelle, said she and other children who participated in the city Summer Fun program at the Palolo Recreational Center took a field trip to a nearby high school to use their pool.

"I would like to see the pool open again," said Michelle.

Steinberger, who hopes work will be done by the end of the week, apologized to the community for not getting the pool open for the Summer Fun program and before children returned to school.

Stephen Jiang, member of the Palolo Neighborhood Board, who regularly used the pool, said, "The whole thing was ill-planned ... They should have opened the pool as soon as possible."

City & County of Honolulu


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