The article on the demise of the Smith Swim Center seemed strangely familiar (“Swimming Upstream,” Elms, July/August). Precisely the same structural failure, over the same thirty-year period, happened to a local pool here in Lake Oswego, Oregon. Most of my working life was spent building paper mills, some of the hottest and most humid spaces found in any industry. Most of the older mills have wooden structures, which have served well for many many years without failure and with no dehumidifiers. As Brown goes about building a new pool, I suggest using an engineering firm that has built many large pools. Look at some of the pools. The University of Minnesota, for example, has a top-notch new one. In addition, do not let an architect design the building as a monument to his or her own ego. Simple lines and open space without nooks and crannies are best. Use modern materials such as stainless steel, galvanized steel, epoxy, or other plastic-coated steel. Use lightweight concrete panels for roofing, glass, and plastic. Finally, the secret for avoiding condensation in the building is not dehumidification but air movement. Spend heavily on heating and ventilation. Make sure your design team includes an expert in HVAC, and find out about his expertise. Don’t take the engineer’s word for it. Thanks for a great job with the BAM.
Don Cameron ’54
Wilsonville, Ore.
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