By CHANSE WATSON
MULLAN — After being taped off for safety reasons, the Mullan’s only indoor pool finally has its tallest diving board back in working order.
The Olympic-size swimming pool inside the iconic Mullan Pavilion lost the high-dive for roughly two months after management noticed some structural weaknesses.
“We’ve always had the high-dive, but the pedestal on it was starting to tilt just a little and we thought that, in time, it probably would have come down,” Mullan pool manager Dawn Mckinnon said.
To get the dive back in working order, Mckinnon enlisted the help of local Mullan contractor Anders Bjorne — who would end up giving it a serious face-lift over the course of two months.
“He rebuilt the whole thing from the bottom up,” she said of Bjorne. “Other than the board, everything else was new.”
The newly improved high-dive sports some sturdy metal guard rails that flank the board, replacing the old caution netting that used to be there.
Mckinnon used the pool’s Facebook account to announce its reopening on March 1 by posting a video of Bjorne taking a ceremonial first dive.
“Everything is good on it now,” Mckinnon said. “People are diving off it, jumping off it. Most facilities or aqua centers don’t have diving boards because of the liability, but we are pretty strict with ours — only frontward dives, nothing backwards and if you climb up, you have to jump off.”
Keeping the high-dive open is just another reason why the Mullan swimming pool is one of the most unique structures in the Silver Valley.
Fred Manthey, who was heavily involved in the pool’s founding back in the late 1960s, explains that its conception was the result of merging two ideas in the community.
Starting in 1967, Manthey and the United States Junior Chamber (JCs) were looking to replace the old outdoor pool in Mullan.
“They would fill it with a fire hydrant, then about a week later when it was warm enough to swim, it was too dirty and you had to dump it out,” he said. “So we started a project to come up with a better pool.”
At the same time though, the school district and the community were clamoring for a new gymnasium.
“People had said for years that they (the school) needed a new gym, It was a small gym and at that time, Mullan schools had a lot more kids going to it and had some very good (sports) teams — so there was a lot of support for that.”
The JCs essentially piggybacked on the new gym idea and presented blueprints of the Mullan Pavilion to the school board for consideration.
The project was initially a hot topic, as concerns of funding and public usage detracted some from supporting the project. Eventually, more people got on board when a large portion of the funding was secured from the Lucky Friday Mine and Hecla Mining Company.
In 1969, the Pavilion and the pool were completed and the rest is history.
With the work complete on the high-dive, Mckinnon was appreciative of Bjorne’s efforts.
“From all of us at the Mullan pool, we’d really like to thank Andy for his hard work.”