NEWCASTLE Ocean Baths would be refurbished by early 2022 under the council's timeline for the multimillion-dollar upgrade.
Newcastle council has called for tenders to restore the sand-bottom pool and surrounding promenade.
The work covers the pool and lower concourse only. Stage two involves the restoration of the pavilions and upper concourse, which is still being considered.
Under a planned timeline for the stage-one works, construction would commence in the first half of next year.
The successful tender will be required to produce concept designs for the upgrade before the elected council gives its final tick of approval.
Tender documents show the council wants to resurface the lower concourse, provide more seating and shade while maintaining sunbathing space, improve lighting, restore or replace the pool boardwalk and relocate the pool pumps.
The pump house in the north-east corner would remain as a feature, as would the concrete plinth in the pool. The sand bottom of the pool has also been described as "highly valued".
Deputy lord mayor Declan Clausen said the project scope had been guided by engagement with a community reference group.
"November marks Newcastle Ocean Baths' 98th anniversary, and the signs of ageing are really showing around her pools and promenades," he said.
"Deterioration around the pools has become impossible to miss, with sections of the lower promenade literally falling into the ocean in recent storms.
"We've had some great feedback from the community about what's important to them as we undertake these essential upgrades."
The council committed to funding the redevelopment earlier this year after an expression of interest process failed to attracted acceptable plans from the private sector.
The process had been criticised by some residents who feared the facility was effectively being privatised.
The Friends of Newcastle Ocean Baths group garnered more than 16,000 signatures on a petition calling for both Newcastle and Merewether ocean baths' pavilions to be kept "in public hands"
Acting CEO Ken Liddell said the immediate focus was to deliver a safe and efficient upgrade to the Newcastle pool, but work was continuing to inform stage two.
He said three formal meetings had been held with the community reference group since March and two focus groups had provided feedback on key issues including the change rooms, café/kiosk and community spaces.
The council has committed $9.5 million from the sale of the Fred Ash building to the restoration, which is expected to cost about $20 million including the pavilion.
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