Repairs on the popular spring-fed pool in Balmorhea State Park have officially begun.
The pool was unexpectedly shut down in mid-May after staff, during its annual cleaning, noticed damage to the concrete apron under the diving board, which is used to stabilize the walls of the pool against erosion.
Preliminary work started at the end of August and the $1.8 million repairs began Sept. 12 and are expected to take several months.
Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Press Officer Manager Steve Lightfoot said they are scheduled to be finished this winter in time for the 2019 summer season.
The pool, which is in western Texas about one hour north of Alpine, is known for its cool, 72- to 76-degree water temperatures year-round.
Pictures posted on Facebook by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department last week show the diving board being removed, which is necessary to repair the damage to the wall below it, Lightfoot said.
Overall, pool repairs will include “creation of the cofferdams, temporary removal of the diving board, salvaging of the existing brick around the pool edge, removal of the existing distressed walls and backfill behind the wall, complete removal of the wall and installation of temporary slope protection, installation of a new wall to existing walls along the north and south side of the pool, and replacement of the backfill once repairs are complete,” Lightfoot said in an email.
The cofferdams are intended to ensure the protection of endangered species and maintain water flow, according to Lightfoot.
In the meantime, the park is also undergoing $7 million reservations to other parts of the park, Lightfoot said. The campground will be receiving new restroom facilities and cable to each of the sites, and the San Solomon Spring Courts, which were originally built in the 1930s, are getting their first full remodel since the 1960s.
Those renovations began mid-September and are expected to be completed by April 2019. Until then, the park has limited access to daytime use only.
“The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department is working diligently to repair the park and know that visitors will find an improved park after these improvements are made to the pool, the historic motor courts and the parks’ popular campground,” Lightfoot said in an email.