The new UNH Outdoor Pool has officially closed its lanes, ending its first season open to the public.
The $6.5 million project has been in the process for about four years, and had its long awaited opening ceremony in late August. The pool officially closed on Sept. 22, making its first season last only for about one month.
“It was a good opportunity for us to learn about it,” Director of Campus Recreation Stacey Hall said on the aquatic facility’s first open season.
Though the new facility was only open for a month, this shortened season did not stop the pool from becoming a huge success. In fact, Campus Rec. sold over 1,400 day passes and about 370 season passes in the four weeks. These memberships are valid throughout the entirety of summer 2017, and will be on sale when the pool reopens in June.
“I’d say it has [been successful],” Hall said. “Our opening event had about 2,000 people. It was kind of a neat tie back to the history of the old pool, which was really important to the folks who were here at that time and got to enjoy the old pool.”
The “old pool” Hall spoke of opened on August 19, 1938 and closed before summer 2014.
With sandy beach exterior and unkempt facilities, the former establishment was seen by most as being an outdated eyesore for years. Though the aesthetics were unpleasant in the end, the pool also had multiple upkeep and sanitary problems, causing the town to shut it down after 76 years of aquatic fun.
The new pool has been upgraded to avoid these issues, and has now become a more eco-friendly and aesthetically appealing recreational facility.
“The old pool lost almost 50,000 gallons of water a day,” Hall said. “Having the systems being new and working well makes it more efficient.”
However, this pool was not always viewed as a top-notch project. Though these new upgrades have clearly benefitted the facility, Campus Rec. received a lot of backlash from Durham citizens when deciding to take out the old pool. These concerns delayed the project for about two years, making an initial two-year project into a four-year project.
“There was a lot of sentimental connection [to the old pool],” Hall said. “The concerns brought up to the community delayed the project until the summer of 2016.”
The new pool’s deck has display boards that describe the facility’s decorated history and also provide information on the efforts taken to make the new swimming site possible.
This specific effort has been four years in the making, though there has been talk of renovating the pool for about 25 years, making this upgrade a long time coming.
Though the pool may have a rich history, Campus Rec. only hopes to give it an even brighter future, and will be upgrading it even more for next summer. Some future plans include on-site concessions, swim lessons and more special events.
The Outdoor Pool had a very successful first season, though the staff only hopes to continue making it better, according to Hall.
“I’ve heard a lot of positives,” Hall said in reference to recent feedback on the new facility. “We incorporated a lot of aspects that previous users said were really important…[like] this being a really social connection point for people. If you want to hang out with the other families in the community, this is a place to do that.”
Not only does this pool allow for fun, sun and swimming, but also gives the town of Durham a place for community members to interact and socialize, while building lasting relationships and creating memories.
Due to the appealing aspects of this new facility, it is safe to say the new Outdoor Pool has made a big splash in the community and will only continue to grow.
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