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Saint Mary’s closes its only pool indefinitely

Mandi Stirone | Wednesday, October 11, 2006

When Saint Mary’s students returned to school this August, they found the campus’ only pool – housed inside Regina Hall – drained and empty. Though little information about the pool had been made available since then, recently it was announced that the Regina pool would be closing indefinitely.

Initially, the pool was drained in order to determine the source of the leaks that caused the loss of thousands of gallons of water over the years, according to Lynn Kachmarik, the athletics director and swim team coach.

Karen Johnson, vice president of Student Affairs, said the room that contains the pool and the age and extent of the damage of the actual pool are two major reasons for its closing.

In Regina, the pool is enclosed in a glass courtyard with a roof overhead. Originally, this was an open-air courtyard with no pool and was later enclosed, but not specifically for a pool, Johnson explained. So when the pool was finally added, several problems came up, including issues with drainage, heating and moisture.

The roof of the enclosed courtyard is also damaged, and there is currently a project underway to fix it, according to Johnson.

The pool itself “is very old and damaged beyond repair,” Johnson said.

Unfortunately for students who use the pool, there will be no replacement pool – at least not for a while. Johnson said because of the construction of a new academic building, putting in a new pool isn’t an option right now.

There are alternatives to the Regina pool, according to Kachmarik. Students can use the swimming pool in Notre Dame’s Rockne Memorial for recreational swimming. The swim team will continue to practice at LaSalle Academy and Rolfs Aquatic Facility at Notre Dame, as they have been doing for quite some time, she said. Kachmarik said she is also planning on working with the Red Cross to find a way for students to still be able to get lifeguard and WSI certifications.

Despite the obvious loss to the Saint Mary’s community, few students seemed concerned. Kelly Tighe, a member of the swim team, expressed concern with the loss of her lifeguarding job at the pool. The pool’s only benefit to the team, she said, was its availability as a place to make up for missed practices.

Students who weren’t on the swim teams seemed even more apathetic about the pool.

“I don’t think anyone cares about the pool,” sophomore Meg Varty said, “The pool was useless and the space could be used for something more useful.”

Heather Quick, a freshman was equally flippant concerning the pool.

“I don’t really care about the pool in Regina,” she said. “It’s disgusting.”