Historic Tepid Baths to reopen

JESSICA TASMAN-JONES
Last updated 14:48 15/06/2012

The Tepid Baths have re-opened after a multi-million dollar restoration.

Tepid baths
PHIL DOYLE/ Fairfax NZ Zoom
The refurbished Tepid Baths prior to opening.

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It was officially opened with a large gold key almost a century ago and next weekend it will be a sausage sizzle and water ballet performance reopening Auckland's Tepid Baths.

The 98-year-old swimming and fitness facility has been closed to the public since 2010 while $15.8 million was spent refurbishing it.

The building on Sturdee St near the Viaduct now houses a 25m seven-lane pool, a learner's pool, fitness centre, steam room, spa and private changing cabanas and plans are afoot for a café and physio rooms in the future.

While the building retains many of its original features, including private changing rooms and hanging plants, some design elements have been added and the layout has been modernised.

Stylish black and white tile changing rooms have been brought to the front of the building and large windows open up the pools to Custom St West - a feature which may receive mixed reviews from the body conscious.

On the exterior, old tresses from the original building have been remodelled as a design feature to hide a 1950s addition to the pools.

The grand opening of the beloved Auckland facility, happening next Saturday from 11am, will feature two swimmers officially "breaking the water" before the Wet Hot Beauties ballet troupe perform for the crowd.

The public will have to wait until the next day before they can swim in the pools.

Mayor Len Brown, who will unveil an official plaque with Waitemata local board chair Shale Chambers, said the restoration ensures a recognisable feature of downtown Auckland continues to stand strong.

"Thousands of Aucklanders have childhood memories of visiting the baths - long may that continue."

The pools were officially opened by then Mayor James Parr on December 7, 1914, having been built on reclaimed land at a cost of £10,670.

For several decades, they were the only heated pools in Auckland with the salt water originally being a by-product used to cool machinery at a nearby powerhouse.

The two pools were initially separated for use by men and women.

Charges for the pools when they officially open for swimming will be $6.50 an adult, $4 a child and $5.20 for senior citizens and Community Service Card holders.

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