Bethel Pool Reopens; Construction Issues Found In Building

Jan 15, 2020

The Yukon Kuskokwim Fitness Center reopened on Monday, Jan. 15.
Credit Christine Trudeau / KYUK

Bethel has a pool again. The Yukon Kuskokwim Fitness Center reopened on Monday, after nearly three weeks of closure due to frozen pipes and other mechanical issues caused by the cold snap.

Corbin Ford, foreman of the city’s property maintenance crew, spoke at the Bethel City Council meeting on Jan. 14. His team worked every day over the holidays to keep the pool from freezing over. Ford said that Francis Harpak, Gary Poe, Brandon Oulton, and Carlie McIntyre logged a collective 447 hours of overtime over the last pay period.

“They worked tirelessly for you guys, the community, and the pool,” Ford said, fighting tears and a sore throat.

Acting City Manager Bill Howell said that an engineering and architectural firm examined the facility to find out why so many issues arose in the building.

“There were some things that were not discovered by the project managers and/or the contractors when the building was built,” Howell said. “We’re looking into that to see what recourse we may or may not have.”

Howell says there are issues with the envelope and insulation of the building, and Bethel's Public Works department will have an engineering report in several weeks to address those issues.