It’s difficult to start the summer pool season when something’s not working properly. It’s an entirely different matter, however, when nothing’s working at all. Even worse, when there’s nothing left of your pump room, guard office and bathhouse.
That’s exactly what happened to Lochearn Community Club’s pump room in 2020 just before the pool was scheduled to open to members. After an electrical fire decimated the club’s entire primary structure, a lost season spelled complete uncertainty for any future swimming.
So Peter Backe, Lochearn’s VP of Operations and resident “Mr. Fix-It Guy,” knew just who to turn to. Peter had always consulted American Pool’s experts in the past, so making a quick call to us just a week after the fire was an easy decision.
“When I met with American Pool on day one,” Peter remembered, “it was obvious. They were very caring and compassionate in light of the fire.”
Surveying the damage
Rob Smith is our VP of Construction operating out of our D.C.-Maryland-Virginia office. When Rob answered Peter’s phone call, he knew this was not going to be some humdrum renovation. For some people, their summer’s weren’t just at stake, but their livelihoods.
“The first thing I saw,” Rob recalled, “was the entire bathhouse and pump room were completely burnt down. It was a week before opening.”
“It’s a pretty somber moment to realize they weren’t going to open that pool that summer,” Rob said. “On one side, you’ve got lifeguards set up for employment that summer. On the other hand, you’ve got children on the swim team, some in swim lessons starting that next milestone in life.”
The pool structure may have been intact, but all its plumbing and equipment was completely destroyed. And when so much ends up broken, sometimes there’s nothing left to do but start over.
From the ashes
Lochearn isn’t just any pool. Opening in 1957, it was also one of the Baltimore area’s first integrated pools when racial segregation dominated the cultural landscape. It’s rooted in a deep history of brotherhood and kinship, one that shouldn’t be razed and restarted at the first sign of trouble.
That’s why we went above and beyond the scope and duty of the job to ensure Lochearn’s guests would have something special to be excited about for the next swim season. The changes would be unnoticeable to guests, but would make a big difference in improving the pool’s operation for years to come.
A fire as devastating as Lochearn’s can melt all your piping, so installing new lines was a given. But when we rebuild, we want to rebuild better than the way it was before. So we also color-coded and labeled each pipe system, so it would be easy to identify each system at first glance.
“When the time came to start work,” Peter remembered, “American Pool came in like gangbusters. The guys working on it were very professional and helpful. Now we’re up and running and everything’s beautiful and we’re ADA compliant. Best of all, we have a pump room that works. I love the new layout. Every pipe is color-coded and marked, so it’s easy to teach our lifeguards how everything goes.”
Sometimes, “just another day at the office” can provide a lifetime of value.
“Knowing they were back on track,” Rob said, “was also knowing it was the start of another two decades keeping their pool running.”
For Peter and the rest of the Lochearn community, it means summer is saved again.
“Literally every person was professional and friendly. If someone is looking to get their pool going, I tell them to reach out to American Pool.”