The fabric dome won't arrive until late October or early November, but its larger size requires Tupelo to expand the pool's footprint to accommodate it.
Parks and Recreation employees have spent the past several days pouring a concrete foundation to extend the back of the pool area. They also have erected new fence poles, and are creating an access road around the pool that will lead to additional parking.
From the seat of his skid-steer loader, Parks and Recreation employee Philip Crowe said the road and parking would serve the adjacent tennis courts, as well. Crowe was grading the earth in the warm afternoon sun.
"We'll be finished today with the concrete and fences," said Parks and Recreation Director Don Lewis. "We'll start drilling this week or next week for the new anchor system."
The preparation work costs about $15,000 and is being handled in-house, Lewis said.
Work will not interfere with swimming, and the pool will retain its normal operating hours.
The city bought the new dome in July for $152,257. It will replace Tupelo's current canopy, a 15-year-old structure that has been bandaged numerous times from normal wear and tear. It goes up every fall and comes down every spring to turn the city's 50-meter pool into Tupelo's only indoor swimming facility.
The new bubble will serve the same purpose until Tupelo builds a permanent indoor aquatic complex in 2014. After that, the dome will cover several outdoor tennis courts. It hasn't yet been determined if the courts will stay covered year-round or just during the winter months.