Friday, November 7, 2014

Roosevelt Island Steam Plant Closing This Month, Sportspark Facility Extends Temporary Heating And Sportspark Pool Water Temperatures May Need To Be Raised

Roberta Kleinman of the Roosevelt Island Sportspark Users Group is concerned that the Roosevelt Island Operating Corp (RIOC) is not serving the needs of most Sportspark Pool

 Image Of Sportspark Pool From RIOC

users in setting the water temperature for the Sportspark pool. Ms. Kleinman writes:
What is the primary mission of RIOC? Is it not to serve the needs of the Roosevelt Island community?

Accordingly, the recent lowering of the average water temperature from 83/84 to 81/82 does not serve the needs of the average Roosevelt Island user, and not outside groups. Over the past few years there has been a dramatic rise in the number of Roosevelt Island families, babies, children, young Marlins, seniors and casual swimmers at Sportspark pool.

In fairness to all, including the faster lap swimmer’s and older RI Marlins, for years the water temperature was kept at an average of 83/84 degrees. This seemed to service the average user, throwing out the extremes (such as a woman who requested 70 degrees,, which is below the Olympic average of 75-82 degrees). In order to serve the needs of the majority of the community, we have no choice but to disregard extremes on both the hot and cold ends.

Recently I asked RIOC to verify the numbers, supporting the sentiment of the community members that I have spoken with, and restore the average water temperature to 83/84 degrees. Thus far, they have not commented on what comprises the majority of Roosevelt Island Sportspark pool users. I ask you to please fulfill your mission, and serve the needs of the majority of Roosevelt Island Sportspark Pool users, and restore the average to 83/84 degrees.
According to the United States Water Fitness Association:
Suggested Swimming Pool Temperatures

This is a debatable subject! The suggested pool temperature is usually dependant on the person’s activity in the pool. Below are some ideas regarding water temperatures for various activities.

Special Note: Because of varying water temperatures, and for the safety of participants, classes should vary depending on the water temperature. High aerobic activity in high temperature water can be dangerous.

It’s important to remember that you can never keep everybody happy regarding water temperature. If a pool is used for just one of the above-mentioned programs, you do not have a problem. However, if your pool is used for a variety of aquatic programs, you have what we call a “multi-purpose” pool. The water temperature at the average indoor multi-purpose pool in the USA is 84 to 86 degrees.
The subject of heating the Sportspark Facility was on the Agenda at the November 5 RIOC Board Of Directors meeting. RIOC Director of Engineering Jim Mortimer reported to the Board that the NYC Health & Hospitals Corp (HHC) has advised that the Roosevelt Island Steam Plant
  Image Of Roosevelt Island Steam Plant

which supplies electricity to the Sportspark will shut down this month and RIOC wishes to extend the temporary boiler contract until the permanent new boiler is ready for installation (the Steam Plant used to provide electricity to Goldwater Hospital, now being demolished for Cornell Tech). According to this excerpt from RIOC memo:
HHC informed us sometime late 2013 that the steam plant providing heat to Sportspark was to close either late 2013 or early 2014. In order to ensure Sportspark's viability as a recreational facility, a permanent heating system was needed. The Engineering Department estimated that it would take approximately two years to bid out the design, have it approved by the Department of Buildings (DOB) and then bid out the construction of permanent heating system.

Having no assurance as to when the plant was to close, an RFP for a temporary system was issued and a contract was awarded to Boilermatic Welding Industries, Inc. for a 6 month period ending November 20, 2014, with a six month option to extend until May 2015.

Although the permanent system has been designed and is being reviewed by the DOB, it will take an additional 6 months for construction to be completed. Therefore, we are requesting that Boilermatic Welding Industries' contract for temporary heating be extended for an additional 6 months....
Click here for full RIOC memo including pricing information.

Here's Mr. Mortimer reporting to the RIOC Board at yesterday's meeting on Sportspark heating system.

No word yet from RIOC what they plan on doing with the Steam Plant

Image Inside The Steam Plant

though RIOC did issue a 2013 Request For Expressions Of Interest:
... to learn the types of reuse and redevelopment plans that are both economically feasible and beneficial to the Roosevelt Island community and to assess the interest of qualified developers...
No word on if, or, what types of interest for the Steam Plant was received by RIOC.

UPDATE 4:20 PM - According to RIOC:
Since our meeting with Ms. Kleiman, we have adjusted the Sportspark Pool temperature to remain at 83 degrees Farenheit. While the ideal temperature for swimming pools varies based on programming, this temperature is suitable for a wide range of activities and users (according to USA Swimming's guidelines for various aquatic activities). This temperature adjustment has been in effect for some time already and is frequently monitored for consistency.

Although no stable temperature will suit every user's needs perfectly, we will continue in our efforts to accommodate the widest range of swimmers and activities possible. As always, we appreciate the community's feedback regarding the pool and entire Sportspark facility.

For reference - here's a picture of the pool's digital readout. This is how our staff keeps an eye on the water temperature and make sure it stays where it needs to be.

Image Of Sportspark Pool Temperature Reader From RIOC