August construction update: projects nearing completion

By Claire Goldsmith

  • The newly-completed Copses Family Aquatic Center will open on Saturday, Aug. 25 with a ceremonial “first swim” in the pool. 

All other campus construction projects, including the new Kutler Center for Interdisciplinary Studies and the renovation of Seeley G. Mudd Library, will finish on time before the first day of school, Director of Campus Operations and Construction J.D. DeMatte said.

Copses Family Aquatic Center
Head of Upper School Audrius Barzdukas called the installation of its laser-certified swimming pool an “engineering feat.”

“Fitting the pool into that space took a significant amount of planning and engineering because we had to construct a retaining wall,” he said. “It really is an accomplishment to place a 50 meter pool into that area.”

Stainless steel panels, PVC membranes, glue, tiles and waterproof coatings were shipped through the Panama Canal from the headquarters of Myrtha Pools in Mantua, Italy, to the Port of Los Angeles. Components of the pool were then driven to Coldwater Canyon in fifteen truckloads on June 7, the day before commencement. 

“As the trucks were coming in, we craned everything off and put it all onto the pool deck that had just been poured. It was perfect timing,” De Matte said.

The modular stainless steel segments were bolted together and, along with the concrete pool bottom, coated by a PVC membrane. Once the structure was sealed and waterproofed, custom Myrtha tiles were applied on the walls and floor.

An eight thousand gallon surge tank sits underneath the pool deck to keep the surface of the water level. When swimmers dive in or otherwise disturb the water, the shock is transferred into the tank, allowing pool water to remain exactly at the surface of the deck.

Thanks to the size of the pool and its advanced technology the water polo and swimming teams will be able to practice simultaneously for the first time in school history, Barzdukas said.

Trustees, donors, and President Tom Hudnut are invited to witness the first laps in the new complex at the ceremony in two weeks. 

Los Angeles Times high school sports reporter Eric Sondheimer pegged the cost of the pool at around $5 million in a June article. 

“It’s in that realm,” Barzdukas said.

Kutler Center, Seeley G. Mudd Library and Chalmers Hall
Construction on the Kutler Center, which is scheduled to open in the last few days of August, will “go right down to the wire as expected,” De Matte said. “We always knew that it was a really big project to jam in during the summertime.” 

Mudd Library, which was modernized during the construction of the Kutler Center, was carpeted and furnished this week.

All construction in Chalmers Hall was completed by mid-July, with new offices built for Barzdukas, the Dean Coordinators and Upper School Deans Mike Bird and Vanna Cairns. The wall between Chalmers East and Chalmers West was torn down, reuniting the two halves of the student lounge. The portable silent study trailer was converted into two English classrooms and books from “Mini-Mudd” were restocked on the shelves of Mudd Library.

“We were pretty nervous for a while, but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel now,” De Matte said.

Coldwater Canyon
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power construction on Coldwater Canyon water mains will impede access to the school’s south entrance during the 2012-2013 school year. LADWP has tentatively scheduled the completion of all Coldwater construction for September 2015.