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Taking shape . . . Waitaki Aquatic Centre manager Matthew Lanyon at the aquatic centre before its re-opening, two months after it was closed for an extended maintenance project. PHOTO: DANIEL BIRCHFIELD

Waitaki Aquatic Centre was drained, it was discovered that a little bit of grouting work was needed.

About 7km of it, in fact.

After being closed since April for extensive maintenance and refurbishment, the aquatic centre is set to reopen to the public tomorrow, with free entry all weekend.

Aquatic centre manager Matthew Lanyon said the Covid-19 lockdown meant the work was able to be brought forward to April, which meant more could be done to improve the facility for users and staff than what would usually be achieved during its annual closedown.

“Originally, we had our scheduled maintenance closure scheduled for late June. Obviously, with lockdown we managed to extend it out and get work done that we were going to tick off over the next four years … we rolled it all together.

“We have achieved significantly more work then we had scheduled for our original closedown.”

Pool users would notice the changes as soon as they walked in the door, he said.

The blue and yellow paint scheme has gone, replaced with a lighter white colour, and the centre’s changing rooms have been given a complete makeover, among other cosmetic changes.

“They will notice a difference, from the floors to the walls. The pools not so much, but the surroundings. Every surface has been touched in some way in the last couple of months.”

All three 20-year-old pools, which took four to five days to reheat after being refilled, were drained, regrouted and had tiles replaced where needed, which Mr Lanyon said was essential to make sure they remained watertight.

“We actually replaced 7km of grouting in the main pool. That’s a lot of grout.”

Improvements out of the public eye included an overhaul of the equipment that keeps the pools and the aquatic centre running.

To celebrate the opening, entry will be free this weekend between 9am and 6pm and there will be activities for families to enjoy between 11am and 4pm both days.

Mr Lanyon expected a lot of people to pass through the doors and was confident people would continue to support the aquatic centre in difficult times.

“We have been very happy with the following we are having on social media, how many people looking forward to the reopening.

“At the moment, it is tough for many facilities in New Zealand and many are experiencing quite a drop in numbers, for various reasons.

“But I believe and hope we will be well supported when we do reopen.”