Pool at Homestead library reopens with $200,000 in improvements

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Blaise Galewski swam in the pool at Carnegie Library of Homestead in Munhall for years before he began working as a lifeguard there April 1, the grand reopening of the 114-year-old pool.

Renamed the Mathieson Family Pool, it had been closed since June for about $200,000 worth of repairs and renovations.

"I like the new lights on the ceiling as it makes for a better atmosphere for swimming," said Mr. Galewski, 19, of Lincoln Place.

"This is just another feather in our cap," library director Carol Shrieve said of the pool improvements, which included patching leaks; upgrading the electrical system; and installing new lighting, liners and a filter system.

Steps were added for a gradual entry into the water, and a new ladder was installed in the deep end. A portable lift makes the pool handicapped-accessible.

The pool depth increased from 7 to 8 feet in the deep end and from 2.5 to 3.5 feet in the shallow end to allow for lap swimming.

The drop ceiling from the late 1970s was removed and the original high ceiling was restored. A new glass door and floor-to-ceiling windows allow natural light into the pool area.

The upgrades were made possible in part by $75,000 raised by the Mathieson Family Foundation to honor Mary Mathieson Cook, her parents, Andrew and Mary Mathieson, and their families, whose members spent hours in the pool as youths. In addition, $100,000 was donated by William V. Campbell Jr. of Palo Alto, Calif., a 1959 graduate of the former Homestead High School, who has donated millions of dollars over the years to the school district and community.

Munhall provided $20,000 toward a new boiler to heat the water in the building and the pool. That amount was in addition to the $15,000 the borough provides annually.

The overhaul was the first for the 67.5-by-35.5-foot pool, which has been described as the longest continually operating heated pool in Western Pennsylvania.

Mrs. Shrieve said locker room renovations are being planned.

Dorian Broadwater, 17, of Homestead likes the brighter lighting and lap lanes, and at 6 feet tall, he especially enjoys the greater depth. The Steel Valley High School basketball player visits the library every day to work out in its weight room, practice on the basketball court and -- now that the pool has reopened -- swim.

Fellow basketball player Kennedy Smith, 15, of Homestead likes the steps into the pool and the new floats and knee boards for fun in the water. He stays in the shallow end because he cannot swim, but the activity is good exercise for his arms and legs, he said, to keep in shape for hoops.

The pool now is offering family swim sessions, and among the families taking part are Sally and Michael Altman of Munhall, who bought a $50 monthly pass for themselves and their daughters, Sarah, 7, Mary Anne, 5, and Hannah, 3. The couple carry their 15-month-old daughter, Elizabeth, in the pool.

"Between the white ceiling and new lights and the new white pool bottom, it really brightens up your entire experience," Mrs. Altman said. "It is fun, good exercise, and we can enjoy it as a family."

Family swims are held from 5 to 8 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays. Adult swim hours are 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Thursday 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. Saturday. Aqua fit classes are 1 to 2 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays. Monthly pool passes are $28 for an individual, $25 for students and seniors. Day passes are $10 for an individual, $15 for a family. Athletic club memberships, which include use of the pool, are $35 monthly. For passes or more information: 412-462-3444, ext. 225.


Margaret Smykla, freelance writer: suburbanliving@post-gazette.com.


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