Legion Pool has been the center of recent debate throughout the University -- and at a University Council Committee on Facilities meeting Friday.
The debate centers around whether the pool should be renovated or a new pool should be open near the intramural fields and parking deck at Lake Herrick.
Although no formal decisions were made on the committee's position on the pool, members discussed concerns and views on the matter.
The purpose of the new pool's location would be to maximize the use of other amenities in the Lake Herrick area and to attract students.
“The idea of location would maximize that. You've got your intramural fields, you've got your parking deck, you have Lake Herrick Pavilion if you want to have a party or entertainment areas there,” Campus Architect Danny Sniff said. “Arguably for all those people who are fans of Legion Pool, you have some of that there to begin with, but the idea is that by putting it in a student activity area, you'd probably or hopefully try to attract more students.”
Sniff said he believes students do not use the pool as freshmen due to getting swept up in the first year of college, and by the time they are sophomores, most students have moved to apartment complexes with pools of their own.
Senior Emily Fountain said more research should be done before building a new pool students may not use.
“From what I've heard now, I think a lot of research still needs to be done. I don't think they have enough tangible numbers of the students that are actually using the pool. So, to motion to move it somewhere else away from the freshman dorms, where I would suspect a larger usage is being done by students, I think is a bit presumptuous, ” Fountain said.
The plan to build a new pool would center around students who often do not use Legion Pool. Although there is no concrete plan, under these circumstances Legion Pool would be demolished and the area would be used as a green space, not a parking lot or new building. Sniff said he believes this is the goal of University President Michael Adams.
“When we talked about parking lots in there, temporary parking lots, he said no. He said one of the beauties of our campus is the little pocket parks and the green space. Maybe that could be energized as a field, as a ball field or a play field,” Sniff said.
Though not used as often by students, Legion Pool has historically been a big draw for faculty and staff. Supporters of renovating Legion Pool feel it would add to a sense of community and would help with the hiring of new faculty, particularly those with children.
“I've heard from a number of staff and faculty who have expressed concerns about the future of Legion Pool. It is an important part of the University community as a whole, not just as viewed as a student facility,” Assistant to the President Chuck Toney said. “The plan to either close Legion Pool or to relocate it to a different, more student-oriented facility is of a lot of concern to both faculty and staff at UGA.”
Plans for renovating the pool estimated to cost around $500,000, and the earliest estimates to build a new pool are around $2.6 million. Though the estimate of building a new pool is expensive, Sniff said the plan is to lower the figure. Sniff also said the history of the pool, built by the American Legion in the 1930s, is important to the discussion.
“The interesting thing about preservation is that it's so many, not just bricks and mortar, but so many memories that comprise what makes the place special,” Sniff said. “And I think that senior administration is hearing that loud and clear.”