With its twists and never-ending turns, Spurrier Hall always has something new to show a student passing through.
Dance studios, music practice rooms, and a gymnasium are tucked away within its dimly-lit halls. While most students could confidently name Spurrier as the center for the Dance & Movement Program, only a handful know its previous function.
Even fewer, presumably those new to campus, are aware of the abandoned pool hidden in the bowels of Spurrier Hall.
The empty pool area in the Merle Spurrier Gymnasium was originally a feature of the women’s gym facilities built in 1955. Spurrier’s pool was 25 yards, with six lanes. The building is connected by way of tunnels to Susan B. Anthony hall, which once was an all-women’s dormitory. In 1982, the female sports facilities were moved to the GAC, and so the Spurrier pool, along with the rest of the building, was closed.
For a time, Spurrier was simply left in repose, and then it was used as a space for exams. During the vacation months, extra desks from exams were stored in the drained pool, along with many other odds and ends, such as props from Strong Auditorium and technology equipment from the on-campus tech store.
Ghost rumors are scattered throughout the pool’s history, but there isn’t much evidence to support these stories.
“I’ve never personally seen any ‘pool poltergeist,’ as you say, they are probably just urban legend,” Director of River Campus Facilities Jeff Foster explained.
Director of the Dance & Movement Program Missy Smith would say otherwise: “It was rather bright and had colorful painted footprints going up one wall as a result of some graffiti,” referring to the student-painted blood red footprints around the pool deck and up the wall.
According to Foster, the Spurrier pool is presently clean of the spare parts it once held (including the creepy desk-chairs), but there have been no plans made to refurbish the space.
The painted footprints remain, but the room looks well lit and a little more inviting. Nevertheless, much of the building has decayed cosmetically, despite its strong foundation, and reconstruction of the pool would be costly.
If UR does find the funds to renovate the Spurrier pool, what should it be transformed into?
“It would be nice if they possibly made it an open space for performance groups, or just a nice lounge for people to enjoy” sophomore Carley Haft said.
Senior Sunny Hutson had a different idea: “I think it’d be cool if we maybe had an indoor ice rink or something like that.”