Courtesy of Michael Otto

The Goergen Athletic Center pool is getting a major overhaul, and major means it will not merely be getting a facelift to the 30-year-old pool, but a $3 million transformation designed to radically remodel every aspect of the structure, down to the very grout in the tiles.

The pool needed major renovations for mechanicals, lighting, acoustics, tiles and the leveling of the deck itself, according to Associate Director of the Department of Athletics and Recreation Jane Possee. Every two to three years, minor repairs are done to the pool and its interior, but this project is the most dramatic since the pool was built in 1980 — it will be stripped down to the concrete.

The pool’s locker room will also be completely renovated, including new lighting and a paint job.
Possee anticipates that the entire project will be completed by the first of August, in time for students’ return to campus — a six-month project since the pool was drained on March 16.

Despite the fact that renovating the pool at the current time is somewhat of an impediment to students, Possee stressed that there was no perfect time to commence the project. The Athletic Center’s directors discussed conducting the renovations in three-month segments and re-opening the pool in between, but decided that this approach would be more costly in the long run.

The current time frame allows for minimal impact on students, Possee believes, although it will impact summer recreation campus at UR.

Associate Director in the Department of Athletics and Recreation Kris Shanley, who oversees facilities, said that they waited until the UR Swimming and Diving team’s season was over to begin the project, also in an effort to minimize inconveniences.

Although some students expressed concern about not being notified about the project in time to adequately empty their lockers, Shanley stated that information was posted about the pending project on March 6, with warnings to students to have their lockers emptied by March 23.

Remaining belongings were collected from the lockers by March 26, and Shanley says these possessions are still being held for students to collect.

“Even though the window was short, we did make some concessions,” he said.

Associate Project Manager at UR Michael Otto said that despite the high price tag, he thinks UR is “getting good work dollar for dollar.” The remodeling work, which will be overseen by Buffalo engineering firm Cannon Design and contracted by a local firm, equates to about $150 per square foot.

“From an economic point of view, we’re getting a fair amount of work for the dollar we have targeted,” Otto said.

According to Otto, UR spent about 12 months planning the project and ensuring that the engineering firm selected could give the best possible design.

Both Shanley and Possee are overwhelmingly optimistic about the project.

“I can’t wait to see what it looks like,” Shanley said. “It’s essentially going to be a brand new pool.”

Possee believes that the project is necessary and a “proactive move on the part of the University.”

“The condition of the pool was decreasing,” she said. “Since the pool is in the center of [Goergen], it’s not a very good showcase to have in the very center. It was a good decision to do a face-lift.”

Buletti is a member of the class of 2013.

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