Eubanks: Pool will reopen; UNA student use must increase

Freshman Austin Mize (left) and sophomore Alex Maxwell play kayak polo in the Flowers Hall swimming pool Jan. 22. The pool is currently only open for planned group events, but SRC Director Jim Eubanks said the pool will be open for students to swim beginning fall 2015.

The Flowers Hall swimming pool is set to open for student recreational use during the fall 2015 semester as a result of SGA efforts.

Student Recreation Center officials said low student use of the pool led to its closing several years ago.

SGA requests prompted the pool’s reopening about two years ago. But, with only a “handful of people” using it, SRC Director Jim Eubanks said student fee money was not being spent wisely.

“When we tried reopening the pool a couple of years ago, student use for the first couple of weeks was great,” Eubanks said. “After that, it was right back to nobody using it. We might only have one person in there at a time.”

SGA President KeKoria Greer said the organization asked the pool be reopened because students said it is something they want to utilize.

“As the student representatives, we took the concerns students brought to us to Mr. Eubanks because this is something the students said they really wanted,” Greer said. “This is something we looked into, and now we are working with (Eubanks) on it.”

The $10 per-credit-hour Recreational Facility Fee serves as the SRC’s primary funding source.

Eubanks said that means he has to make “tough decisions” about how he will spend the money, which pays everything from the center’s electricity bill to the student workers and equipment purchases.

Expenses associated with reopening the pool include hiring lifeguards, who make $10.50 per hour, and paying someone $7.25 per hour to check student IDs, Eubanks said.

He said hours for the fall semester will likely be held in the evening and last between two and four hours.

“We’ll probably do different hours each day,” he said. “Later hours seemed to work better than morning swims in the past. There probably won’t be any weekend hours because (the SRC) is not hardly busy on weekends.”

Eubanks said the pool’s location probably negatively affects student use as well.

“We are going to try doing some marketing because not a lot of people know where the pool is,” he said. “We’re in the basement of Flowers, so from the Pine Street level it’s two floors down.”

From the Circular Road entrance, the pool is at street level.

Freshman Morgan Fahey said she did not know there was a pool in Flowers, but it would be a good way for students to unwind at the end of a tough day.

“If it was open to everyone, I’d probably go there with my friends every once in a while,” Fahey said.

Eubanks said he will post job openings for lifeguards on Lion Jobs.

“Folks chosen will have to provide copies of appropriate certification,” he said. “Appropriately certified folks will be invited to a meeting at the beginning of the fall semester at which time they will need to pass a physical swimming and lifesaving exam.”

He said he is optimistic about the future of the pool.

“Regardless of what the numbers are, we’re going to stay open all semester,” Eubanks said. “We can use it as a test to get the numbers and decide what to do about the spring semester. If we had all the money in the world, it would be different.”