It can't be seen from space. Though it's kind of weird looking, muggy inside, and actually, sort of loud, it's supposed to be all those things. It's a dome covering the pool at the Hernando Branch YMCA in Spring Hill. Installed Dec. 12, its main purpose is to make the pool comfortable year-round. "Sometimes we have more warm days than not, but cold days affect our memberships," aquatics coordinator Heidi Jennison said. "We put this up so we can keep swim lessons going year-round, so people feel comfortable using the pool."
Jennison says the goal is to keep the water at about 86 degrees.
What's good about the dome is it traps warm air around the pool so when people get out of the pool, they won't be cold from the chilly winter air, that is when the temperature drops down.
"That makes a difference," Jennison said. "People can really get cold just going to get their towel."
Jennison says Y officials believe the significant cost, which was $57,000 for installation and an additional $200 a month for power to keep it inflated for about three to four months, is outweighed by the benefits to the members.
She adds that many members, once it gets cold, stop swimming till the dome is erected.
The dome, or the bubble as it is jokingly called by the life guards, uses propane to keep from getting foggy inside and about eight blowers to keep it up during the day. It has revolving doors to trap the heat inside.
On warm winter days, the dome is vented more so people don't get too hot. It will come down in March. Jennison knows how many members appreciate its being there.
"On those chilly days, we're thankful that it's up, especially the guards," Jennison said.
"But members are glad it's there too, because they still want to swim in the winter."