TAHLEQUAH, Okla. -- There are numerous exciting construction projects under way on the Northeastern State University campus, and one of the most anticipated is the renovation and expansion of the Fitness Center.
But there are logistical issues associated with any construction, and the question on the minds of many concerning the Fitness Center work is: What about the pool?
Since 1981 the pool has served the students and the Tahlequah Community and its popularity has grown. Time and use have taken a toll on the pool and the entire Fitness Center originally designed to serve a campus of 4,000 students.
Unfortunately major repairs to the facility require an interruption in service. The pool has been closed since Sept. 17, 2012, after state inspection revealed a series of issues to address – painting the pool surface and a deck in disrepair. Lifeguard stations, 911 access and Americans with Disabilities Act compliance were also declared inadequate.
After lengthy deliberation within the Division of Operations and with the project architect, the administration at NSU made the decision not to reopen the pool before the renovation work begins on the Fitness Center.
According to Tim Foutch, vice president for operations, “the university is concerned about the uncertainty of the water quality, safety of patrons, additional costs and numerous issues involved with bringing students and patrons into a construction zone.”
The pool will remain closed until all renovation work is complete. It is anticipated that the entire renovation should be completed by August 2014.
As part of the overall programming of the pool, the university is considering suggestions from patrons who have different needs. Some have suggested that the pool temperature does not meet the needs for lap swimming, water therapy and water aerobics.
In its current configuration one pool can't be kept at three temperatures. The university is looking at cost effective ways to address the problem during the renovation. NSU will include an add alternative in bid documents to create three separate zones within the existing pool structure.
"This may include a main lap pool with two smaller pools for therapeutic use, aerobics or swim classes," Foutch said. "This will enhance our ability to meet the needs of our visitors."
The $5 million renovation-expansion of the Fitness Center will require the relocation of fitness center equipment, intramural programs and classes to temporary locations during the construction phase. Additional information about temporary facilities and the renovation timetables should be completed and announced by mid-March.
Jerry Cook, interim executive director of university relations, said the university is committed to providing safe and modern facilities for students and community patrons.
“We regret the major interruptions in service that these upgrades and renovations create," Cook said. "However when the pool and the Fitness Center reopen, we anticipate that everyone will appreciate the significant investment NSU is making at our Tahlequah campus.”
NSU maintains an online page explaining its Master Plan – the long-range vision for the university – at nsuok.edu/masterplan. In the left column is a "Bricks and Mortar" link which contains summaries of selected construction projects and a text link to the Capital Projects and Planning page for further information.
Published: 1/21/2013 2:41:23 PM