2013: The year BEFORE the year of the pool in Wellesley

Wellesley Country Club poolNot only is Wellesley looking to build a pool on the St. James the Great property along Rte. 9, but Wellesley Country Club is in the process of replacing the pool (shown here) on its property.

It sounds as though WCC’s new pool easily will be in place first, as WCC plans to situate its expanded swimming facility basically where the current one is, making the project relatively uncomplicated and likely much less controversial than the maintenance facility/lightning station/comfort station drama that has played out between the club, neighbors and the town over the past few years.  This won’t be “Round 2” of WCC vs. the Neighbors, I was assured by Chris Guiffre, who is heading up the WCC pool committee (which recently invited neighbors over to hear about the pool plans…the shrimp was delicious, we hear!).  WCC’s plan is to rip out the old one once pool season ends this year around Labor Day and have the new one in place for the start of the 2014 swim season.

Meanwhile, the town pool still awaits finalization of the property transfer from St. James and then the pool permitting and design process. It’s anyone’s guess as to when a pool might actually get built, though the town has formed a 900 Worcester Street Committee, which includes an Aquatic Facilities Subcommittee,  2013 should be a busy year for it. During a November meeting of that Subcommittee, information was shared about other pools visited and to be visited, and it was noted that some 3,700 residents responding to a townwide survey indicated they would use a town pool.

As for the WCC effort, I spoke recently with Chris Guiffre, whose name might be familiar to you given his contributions on the School Committee, Sprague Field Task Force and new high school project. The basics on the new country club pool are that it will have 8 rather than 6 lanes like the current 1950s-style design (which should provide relief to adults/seniors looking to swim laps without navigating through kids), a separate diving well, the ability to simply stride into the pool’s low end, and a more sensible layout that will enable parents of young children to more easily keep an eye on babies and slightly older kids. To get a sense of the pool’s sort of Z-shaped design, take in a Google Earth view of the Charles River Country Club’s pool.

WCC is also redoing its pool house and expanding the deck, and Guiffre stresses the pool house will be an aesthetically pleasing structure, like something you might find on Cape Cod, featuring shingles instead of clapboard and cinder blocks. The same architect who designed the new club house is working on the pool house.

Guiffre says communications with neighbors have gone well on the project, in part because the new pool is going in basically the same place as the current one and because it’s really out of line-of-sight of any residents. He also stressed that attention will be paid to environmental impact of the pool, citing his track record of doing likewise with the Sprague playing fields and with the green roof on the new Wellesley High School.

A public hearing with the Wellesley Planning Board on the WCC pool project is slated for Jan. 22 at Town Hall.

Wellesley College, Babson College and Dana Hall also have pools, by the way, but you need to be a member of those communities (or certain teams, etc.) to use them regularly.