The Department of Recreational Sports will renovate the two pools and spa located at Bourgeois Hall. The Student Aquatics Center includes a lap pool, leisure pool, and spa scheduled to be resurfaced and replastered within the next couple of months.
The pools opened in 2001, and it has been 20 years since the college did any type of work to maintain or improve them. The opening of the pools is usually scheduled for the first week of March but is closed temporarily for the renovations.
“All three of our pools are being resurfaced, after 20 years of chemicals in the pools and the use and abuse, they need taking care of,” Dave Suter, director of recreational sports, said.
The funding for the renovations currently being made was a combination of available finances. The recreational facility/equipment fee, general auxiliary fee and other funds are available from the university for the project. The aquatic section of recreational sports has no specific funding available, and it has been difficult to finance the renovations.
One of the main reasons for the renovations includes the pool’s surface. The plaster was flaking due to the heat and wear on the pool. Another factor was the leaking of the pool that caused an increase in the operation cost trying to keep the pools full and chemically treated.
“The plaster was failing in many locations causing a non-smooth surface where it made it really hard to clean, and also we had some leaking, so we were losing pool water,” Suter said.
There are two phases to the renovations. The first phase will focus on repairs to the lap pool so that the recreational department can open it earlier. The second phase of work will fix the leisure pool and spa problems.
The lap pool is 25 yards long with lane lines and facilitates lifeguard training and fitness swimming. The lap pool received approval of the funding and the renovations. The repairs are scheduled to start as soon as the materials and weather permit.
“We can get that pool open as soon as that work is complete, and I hope that that happens within the next month,” Suter said.
The leisure pool and spa renovations are the second phase of repairs. The pools are available to students, faculty and staff at The University of Louisiana at Lafayette. The leisure pool and spa tend to be the most popular summer.
“It is a really good resource for the students to have a place for them to relax and come hang out and to exercise as well and we want to keep that first class for them,” Suter said.
The summer swim season includes family swim time for immediate family members of students, faculty, and staff from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekends.
Recreational sports also offer swimming lesson programs but have not been able to have them for the last two years due to COVID-19.
The aquatics department is struggling with staffing, affecting the hours that the pools are open and programs like swimming lessons.
“That was a challenge for us,” Suter said, “there was a national shortage of certified lifeguards during the last two summer seasons.”
Students interested in working as a lifeguard receive the necessary training they need for the job. Aquatics offers a lifeguard training certification available to students, faculty, and the general public.
“We are always looking for people willing to lifeguard, and we are willing to train them,” Suter said.
Avery Miller, a sophomore in industrial design, is a head lifeguard and explains that there are prerequisites involved with being a lifeguard. Training includes swimming 300 yards, treading water, and completing a brick test. Trainees also learn CPR and first aid.
“We do have the opportunity to work here over the summer, “ Miller said, “I have a job that I am able to come to that is through the school.”
Recreational sports will set the hours for the pool during the summer swim season as soon as renovations are complete.