BALMORHEA, Texas (KTSM) — Repairs to a beloved West Texas swimming hole will continue until at least Summer 2020, more than two years after initial construction began.
“After careful consultation with onsite contractors, Balmorhea State Park’s closure has been extended to Summer 2020,” a Texas Parks and Wildlife press release said. “The extended closure will allow contractors to continue diligently working towards completing the four major construction projects currently underway without compromising the visitors’ experience and safety.”
Balmorhea State Park pool, about 35 miles north of Fort Davis, was initially closed in May of 2018 due to a structural failure in the concrete apron under the diving board, which was used to prevent erosion in the spring-fed pool.
Just months after the discovery of the initial failure, Texas Parks and Wildlife estimated the repairs to be in excess of $2 million. The project was initially slated to last through 2018, due to the sensitivity of the site and presence of endangered species which prohibited the use of heavy equipment for the project.
The project’s cost was in excess of TPWF’s repair funding, which initiated an online fundraising effort by Texas Parks and Wildlife to raise money for the pool’s repairs. Initial repairs were made and the pool briefly reopened in the Summer of 2019 with daily admission caps before additional construction to the park was needed.
TPWF says several construction projects are currently underway at the State Park, including removal and replacement of all septic systems, replacement of the chain-link fence surrounding the pool to a wrought iron and limestone gate, reconstruction of the diving board pergola, replacement of the historic pool handrails, completion of repairs to the campground and San Solomon Courts, and renovations to the manager’s house and concession building.
Known for being an oasis in the middle of the West Texas desert, the pool holds more than 3 million gallons of crystal-clear water, gushing from the San Solomon Springs which stays at a warm 72 to 76 degrees throughout the year.
The spring is also home to several species of aquatic plants and animals – including two small endangered desert fishes, the Pecos gambusia and Comanche Springs pupfish. The park is working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to protect them during repairs.
Up-to-date information about the park can be found in the park alerts banner on the Balmorhea State Park webpage.