Sauðárkrókur Splashes into the Future with New Pool Expansion

The public pool in Sauðárkrókur

The town of Sauðárkrókur in North Iceland is enhancing its public pool with a new recreational area, including an 11-metre-high water slide and additional facilities. The project is a significant investment expected to become a place of leisure and recreation for both children and adults.

A cornerstone of community life

In Iceland, swimming pools are more than just a place for leisure or exercise. They are a cornerstone of community life, deeply woven into the fabric of Icelandic culture.

Read More: Pooling Together (A Deep Dive into Iceland’s Swimming Culture)

This being the case, residents of the town of Sauðárkrókur in North Iceland are understandably excited about the construction of a new recreational area next to the town’s swimming pool, which, at 70 years old, bears the mark of time. 

The forthcoming recreational area will enhance the current facilities — which currently comprise an outdoor pool, two hot tubs, and a plastic vat for soaking in cold water — with several water slides, including a notable 11-metre-high slide. Work on the expansion began in January of 2021.

Listen to Our Podcast: Listen to Iceland Review’s Podcast on Swimming Pool Culture in Iceland

“This recreational area is designed for both children and adults, serving as a kind of comfort zone. Our plans include constructing an 11-metre-high slide tower, complemented by approximately three to four water slides. Additionally, we will introduce a pool for swimming instruction, massage tubs, and a cold tub, alongside the current pool and tubs. It represents a substantial expansion of our facilities,” Ingvar Páll Ingvarsson, project manager with the Municipality of Skagafjörður, stated in an interview with Vísir yesterday.

“I believe it will be magnificent. Once the tower is up, it will be a major landmark,” Ingvar Páll added. 

At a considerable cost

The mayor is equally excited: “We’ve been waiting a long time for this, and as you can see, it’s just a splendid project that we look forward to inaugurating,” Sigfús Ingi Sigfússon, Mayor of Skagafjörður, told Vísir.

When asked about the total cost of the project, Sigfús Ingi admitted that the renovations came at a considerable cost: “Yes, the cost is considerable. In total, from start to finish, including a complete overhaul of the old swimming pool and building, around ISK 1.4 billion [$10.2 million/€9.3 million],” Sigfús Ingi stated.

The mayor hopes that the residents and visitors of the area won’t have to wait much longer for the new swimming pool area to open, although he does not want to specify any month or date in this regard.

Plans for the new recreational area at the public pool in Sauðárkrókur

Hallgrímskirkja Tower Reopens

hallgrímskirkja reykjavík

Hallgrímskirkja tower reopened this morning following a five-week closure to replace its lift, reports. The tower’s new lift travels 1.6m (5.3ft) per second, 60% faster than its predecessor.

Towering over downtown Reykjavík, Hallgrímskirkja church is a popular spot among tourists. Hundreds of thousands go up its tower every year to enjoy its panoramic view of the city. Admission to the tower earned the church ISK 238 million ($2.3 million/€2 million) in 2016.

At this time of year, the tower normally has some 1,000 visitors per day. Sigríður Hjálmarsdóttir, Hallgrímskirkja’s CEO, says many have been disappointed by the closure. “People don’t always take it well, but this is of course an important safety issue,” she stated. The tower’s previous lift was around 50 years old and therefore needed to be replaced. Unlike its predecessor, the new lift will be usable in emergencies.

Hallgrímskirkja Tower Closed for Five Weeks

hallgrímskirkja reykjavík
Hallgrímskirkja tower will be closed to visitors for five weeks while its lift is replaced. According to Vísir, the new lift is both faster and safer than the current one, which has been taking visitors up and down the landmark for 50 years. The tower is a popular tourist site due to its panoramic view of Reykjavík.
Sigríður Hjálmarsdóttir, Hallgrímskirkja’s CEO, says the tower will close to visitors on April 23, and is expected to remain closed for five weeks. If the project remains on schedule, it should be completed around May 27.
The new lift, like the one it will replace, is manufactured by Schindler. It is however a special type of “safety” lift which can be used during a fire. Just like the old lift, it can accomodate 6-8 people at a time, though it travels significantly faster. While Hallgrímskirkja’s current lift travels at one metre (3.3 feet) per second, the new one will travel 1.6 metre per second (5.2 feet).
The renovation will cost the church around ISK 40 million ($330,000/€295,000). Considering that admission to the tower put ISK 238 million (USD 2.3 million/EUR 2 million) in Hallgrímskirkja’s coffers in 2016, it appears to be a good investment.