The Natatorium has a long history in Moose Jaw, but the depression-era building’s future has been up in the air for many years.
Now that there are plans to replace the Phyllis Dewar outdoor pool with new change rooms, a mechanical room and an administrative area, the Natatorium is scheduled to be decommissioned, which could actually breathe new life into the future of the building.
“I'm excited by the prospect of trying to get it reused in some way,” said Mayor Clive Tolley.
Before, it was a struggle to find a suitable tenant for the historic building knowing that they would have to share the building with the outdoor pool in the summer.
The new replacement pool is expected to be completed in 2025, so at the moment there are no concrete plans for the building. However, the city is prepared to listen to suggestions.
“One idea that was brought forward would be to create a farmers' market in that building, but I mean it would be very expensive to renovate that building,” Tolley said.
“No matter what the use we come up with for the new building for the Natatorium, we're going to have to apply for money from federal and provincial to have enough money to renovate that building and put it back into use.”
Those challenges include the fact that the Natatorium does not meet the current National Building Codes. The reason why the shared amenities with the outdoor pool are being moved is that the building is not wheelchair accessible. The Natatorium would also not be able to support the mechanical upgrades for the new pool.
Constructed in 1932, the Natatorium was a community hub as an indoor pool, but the pool was closed down after a new indoor pool was built at the Kinsmen Sportsplex in 1996.
The National Trust of Canada named the Natatorium in its top-10 most endangered places list in 2018. The Natatorium is considered a municipal heritage property.