Facility Profile - September 2015
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A Pool Facelift

The Racquet Club of Philadelphia

By Deborah L. Vence

The Racquet Club of Philadelphia needed to improve its indoor swimming pool after experiencing constant problems with the paint, which typically would last only about two years before peeling off.

"We were recently experiencing adhesion failure with the paint in the Club's pool which had been an ongoing issue for the past decade. The pool at The Racquet Club is indoors, located on the third floor and used year round, so when the paint was applied previously it would last for approximately two years before it would begin to fail and peel from the surfaces," said Derik Comalli, general manager of The Racquet Club of Philadelphia.

The Club would many times have the paint removed and then reapply it in-house using its own maintenance team.

"We typically spent close to $5,000 per paint job and we were forced to do it every three years, although it usually needed it by year two," Comalli said, adding that the pool also happens to be the world's first above-grade swimming pool as designed by the forward-thinking architect Horace Trumbauer in 1907.

So, the Club's management team decided that it should solicit assistance from professionals with extensive knowledge in the preparation and application process in order to maximize the longevity of the work, thus, restoring the paint to its indoor swimming pool.

Through Ramuc Paint and Heiler Painting the Club benefitted from having thorough inspections completed during the preparation process.

"The failing paint was first stripped and hydro-scrubbed by Heiler Painting, and once that was completed, the knowledgeable professionals from Ramuc came in to inspect the substrate and approve their work. This ensured that both parties and The Racquet Club [were] satisfied with the work," Comalli explained.

"From there," he added, "Heiler began the application process applying two coats of two-part epoxy paint. As a result, the Club was given a six-year guarantee from Heiler Painting, and the results have been spectacular. We are confident that this work will last much longer than in years past thanks to expertise of both organizations."

When asked about added savings as a result of the pool improvements, Comalli said that "Provided that there is a six-year guarantee on the most recent renovation, it would appear at first glance that there won't be any savings as the total cost of our recent appointment proved to be a sizable expense at $17,000."

But, he added, "to the contrary, we anticipate that due to the thoroughness of the manufacturer and contactor's substrate inspections and applications that the next job will prove to be less expensive. Also, there is a value to not having to drain the pool as frequently to paint it. Not only do the members benefit by having the pool in service for longer periods of time, it costs the club about $6,000 in water usage to fill the pool each time that it is drained."

In addition to the pool, other improvements the Club has made recently include converting all light fixtures to accommodate energy-efficient LED bulbs, which, in turn, will translate to substantial savings at the conclusion of a three-year payback period. As a result, the Club is more energy-efficient and the lighting has been improved greatly.

Also, the Club has improved its Wi-Fi capabilities on all of the floors to better accommodate the growing technological needs of its members. Now, members can upload pictures and videos with increased speed thanks to a significant increase in Internet broadband, according to information from the Club's website.

The Club, which celebrated its 125th Anniversary in 2014, is both an athletic and social club serving a membership of 830 racquet enthusiasts and dining connoisseurs. The Clubhouse currently has three international singles squash courts (with three more being added in June), the world's first doubles squash court, one of only seven racquets courts in the country, one of only 11 court tennis courts in the country, a full-size 24/7 fitness facility, 13 overnight accommodations and two restaurants.

The Racquet Club of Philadelphia: www.rcop.com
Ramuc Pool Paint: www.ramucpoolpaint.com
Heiler Painting: www.heilerpainting.com