More funds needed for new pool

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Although the University included a new swimming pool in renovation plans more than a decade ago, the athletics department will not confirm rumors that the Tufts will build a new pool to replace the aging Hamilton Pool.

Tufts has the oldest swimming pool of any NESCAC school. Nancy Bigelow, the women’s swimming and diving coach, estimates that it dates from the early 1940s.

“It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that the campus would benefit from a new pool,” she said.

Athletics Director Bill Gehling echoed Bigelow’s sentiment. “It’s clear and obvious that we would like to have a new pool,” he said. The current pool “is small and old and outdated for the amount of use that it gets.”

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According Gehling, a master plan created in 1990 included the construction of a new pool. The plan also outlined other athletic improvements that have since been completed, including construction of the fitness center, the Chase Gymnasium, and the Gantcher Center, and installation of wooden floors in Cousens Gymnasium and the artificial flooring in Carzo cage.

A new pool “would be the next big element, but there just isn’t enough funding at this point,” said Gehling. “It would be a very, very expensive project _ $10-12 million. It would require a major fundraising effort.”

The University has other financial priorities now, Gehling said, as there it needs money for the new dorm, music building, and financial aid.

The annual budget for the athletics program is one to two percent of the overall Arts and Sciences budget of $230 million. But funding for a pool would likely require a special fundraising project, much like the current effort to finance the new music building.

“We need a big, Olympic-sized pool,” said freshman Beth Bishop, a member of the girl’s swimming and diving team. Olympic-sized pools are 50 meters long, twice the length of the Hamilton pool.

“We call it the duck pond,” she said.

The pool area does not have much room for spectators and that the ventilation of the pool area is inadequate, said freshman Kristen Hyland, another member of the team.

“I know a lot of people with asthma have to use inhalers because the air quality is so bad,” she said.

An estimated 100 students belong to the University’s swimming and diving teams, which use the Hamilton Pool regularly. At least another one hundred people from within and outside the Tufts community use the pool each day as well.

“It totally gets crowded, and it’s hard to get pool time with two swim teams when there are lessons going on,” Bishop said.

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