Campus News

Outdoor leisure pool at Campus Rec reopens for spring

The outdoor leisure pool is open Monday through Thursday from noon to 8 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from noon to 7:30 p.m. | Andrea Fernandez Velazquez/The Cougar

The Campus Recreation and Wellness Center welcomed students back from spring break with an event called “Spring Fling” on Tuesday. The highlight of the event was the official reopening of the outdoor leisure pool for summer and fall.

The outdoor pool is a seasonal facility, which opens every year during the first week after spring break and stays open through the last Sunday in October. The pool remains closed through the winter break due to weather conditions.

“(The pool) gives us something to do to release stress,” said pre-psychology sophomore Ana Estrada.

The first 35 students to attend the event were given free t-shirts. Pizza and smoothies were also served.

Some students who attended the event said it was their first time being in that area of the facility.

“I have to start taking advantage here,” said health and human performance senior Nikko King. “I work out at the Rec, but I have never stepped in the water.”

The Rec’s aquatic facilities underwent a multi-million dollar renovation in December 2014 and reopened in July 2015. The renovations were the result of an Americans with Disabilities Act amendment that required the pool to have an automatic lift, said Rachel O’Mara, assistant director of aquatics for UH Campus Recreation.

“We retrofitted it to be in compliance with that law, and it allowed us to put a lift out there for people to be able to get in and out of the pool by themselves,” O’Mara said.

O’Mara said that grab rails were installed and additional work was done the rock features, waterfalls and painting in some areas.

According to College Rank, UH ranks No. six out of their 30 best college pools.

In 2013, the Rec conducted research and surveyed the University community, including the student body, student government and University partners, to find out why the aquatic facilities were underutilized.

“A lot of it was because people did not know it was there, or they felt the indoor pool was for the swim team only,” O’Mara said. “We’ve been trying to really be intentional since we reopened the space to make programs that are for non-traditional swimmers, so we really hope that the leisure pool provides a space for students to get outside and relax, or maybe have a space to study.”

Anyone who is affiliated with the University and has an active membership can access the aquatic facilities. Students receive automatic access when they pay tuition. Faculty, staff and alumni can purchase memberships as well as sponsor people with whom they live.

The leisure pool is open Monday through Thursday from noon to 8 p.m. and Friday through Sunday from noon to 7:30 p.m.

“It looks nice. You can feel you are in a hotel,” said architecture sophomore Erica Hansen. “It gets this vibe you feel proud of the University.”

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