Tepid baths open for business

Public get first taste of historic facelift

NICOLA RUSSELL
Last updated 13:57 23/06/2012

Tepid Baths

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

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Auckland's historic tepid baths has reopened after a $15.8 million restoration and upgrade.

The 98-year-old building was re-launched at a midday ceremony today led by Local Board Chair Shale Chambers.

It was followed by a symbolic breaking of the water by two Auckland swimmers: Gary Gotlieb and Rima Williams, 16.

Both have a long history with Tepid Baths. Williams who holds Auckland records for butterfly and backstroke started swim lessons at the Tepid Baths when she was just one-years- old and has been a competitive swimmer since she was eight.

Gotlieb first visited the Tepid Baths 50 years ago with the Canterbury Junior Waterpolo team. A few years later he moved to Auckland and began swimming at the Tepid Baths, where he has regularly swum for the last 47 years for his own training, teaching others to swim and as a respite from his profession as a criminal barrister.

Mayor Len Brown said the building held a special significance for Aucklanders.

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

The category A heritage building has had its values preserved during the revamp of the swimming and fitness facilities, and the repair of its aging infrastructure.

Chambers: "This painstakingly crafted project has not only delivered new facilities, it has blended the old and new admirably - pieces of the original truss are on display and have been replicated in the new roof structure, the heritage facade has been restored, 1920s cabanas reinstated and the original Kauri panelling can be found on the staircase to the gym.''

The work included the painstaking removal of 100 years of paint from the facade and the careful restoration of plaster and paintwork and applying a breathable paint system


Other work on the building has included:

Replacing all the decayed concrete in the pool, floor and walls of the building.
Modifying and retiling the main and learner's pools, making the main pool wider by one lane and adding a ramp to the learners pool.
Removing the decayed roof trusses and installing new trusses built to the original design.
Moving changing rooms to the front of the building.
Reinstating cabanas around the main and learners pools, matching the 1914 design as much as possible.
Upgrading water and air treatment systems to modern standards.
Installing gym equipment in a climate-controlled space overlooking both pools.
Installing the iconic and recognisable Tepid Baths neon sign over the building.
Installing a new artwork on the Sturdee Street facade called "Memories of the Trusses" which celebrates rust and the trusses as a key driver for the renovation project.

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