Windermere Pool is more than a place to swim.
It's a hub of the Fort Hill-area community and a place where memories are made.
Built by Union Carbide Corp. workers in the mid-1950s, the pool now is in serious need of repairs - and the community is taking the plunge to save it, said John Bupp, a local attorney who is president of the pool board.
"We want to keep the pool open," he said. "It has been good for the community. It's a safe environment. It's important to the Kanawha Valley for competitive swimming."
The pool was built from steel that over time has thinned.
"It is corroding from the chlorine," Bupp said. "One side of the pool is bowed."
A structural engineer's report says that the original thickness of the steel plates was one-fourth inch, and has corroded to 1/12 inch in some areas.
"For 20 years we've been patching and it is no longer efficient," Bupp said.
As a temporary fix, a steel bar was installed to brace the side of the pool that is bowing.
Overall needed repairs are estimated at $240,000 while a new pool would cost about $300,000. Because a new pool seems to be a better investment, the community is pulling together to make that happen.
Current members have agreed to pay a $500 assessment in addition to regular annual dues of $488 for a family.
Interestingly people who are no longer members are also contributing because they realize how important the facility is to the area, Bupp said.
"We have raised $45,000 for a down payment," he said.
The board is awaiting word about a loan from a couple of banks. Once a loan is secured, fundraisers will begin to ensure payments are kept up. One idea is to sell advertising that may be placed on the large chain link fence.
"We should have word from the bank any day now," Bupp said.
The project will mean some inconvenience for members used to the pool opening Memorial Day weekend.
"If approved, we will get bids," Bupp explained. "If approved today, we could be open mid- to late June."