Following controversy over the proposed location of a new campus pool, the Recreation Center and the university have agreed to not put the facility in Robertson Field 4, although the pool’s future location is not yet determined.
According to Associated Students President Stephanie Brower, the two parties have agreed that Rob Field 4, an empty field adjacent to the Rec Cen, will remain a part of the Rec Cen rather than becoming the new pool space for Intercollegiate Athletics. The initial plans placing the facility in that location had led to student complaints that the ICA pool would monopolize facilities currently available to all UCSB students at all times.
Brower said Rob Field 4, which already has installed lighting, will now be turfed for use by intramural and club sports.
“The location has been agreed upon to not be next to the Rec Cen,” she said. “They finally saw the light that it would not be to anyone’s benefit to have it there.”
The new pool will eventually replace the almost 70-year-old Campus Pool, which does not meet National Collegiate Athletic Association competition standards for the ICA swim and water polo teams that practice and compete in it. The teams are currently holding practices in the Rec Cen pool while Campus Pool is undergoing repairs expected to last at least through April.
Budget and Planning Dept. Director of Capital Development Martie Levy said no final decisions were made as to the location of the new pool complex. The current location of Campus Pool, behind the Old Gym and next to A.S. Bikes, is designated as building space in the Long Range Development Plan, also known as UCSB Vision 2025, Levy said.
“The campus’ Draft Vision 2025 identifies the area from Lot 30 through the current Rob fields for recreational uses,” Levy said. “The current proposal is to site the proposed new pool in this vicinity of the campus in reasonable proximity to existing locker rooms. Being discussed now is the pool’s relationship to the Rec Cen and existing playing fields.”
Brower said one area under consideration for the new pool facility is the space next to the current lacrosse fields by the old handball courts.
Other plans for the pool complex are also unclear, including size and expected completion date. According to Levy, the entire construction process will cost an estimated $12 million, which will be raised through donations.
Levy said a location close to the Rec Cen pool would allow the new pool to open for use sooner through a staggered construction process.
“Based on experience and due to the very poor condition of the existing old pool, the campus will likely need to phase construction as funding becomes available, starting with the pool,” Levy said. “Therefore, it is necessary to identify a location that will enable the campus to phase construction, making use of existing facilities, such as locker rooms, until new locker rooms can be constructed.”
However, Brower said she feels long term ICA use of Rec Cen pools and locker rooms is not a viable option.
“They are going to have to make new locker rooms,” Brower said. “During the couple of months of construction while the pool is finished and the locker rooms aren’t finished, the Rec Cen might let them use their locker rooms, but that is determined by the Rec Cen governance board.”
Currently, ICA teams and Rec Cen sponsored intramural teams and classes use Campus Pool. Brower said she was concerned that the new pool would be available exclusively for ICA use, leaving the Rec Cen as an exclusive – rather than supplementary – pool for student use.
“This new pool will be for ICA and controlled by ICA,” Brower said. “It is the responsibility of the campus to have a pool [for student use]. We agree that ICA should have first priority in scheduling their practices and games. [But] the Campus Pool is used a lot [by students]. If they build an ICA pool, we lose a campus facility.”
Although the campus has agreed to preserve Rob Field 4 for Rec Cen use, the LRDP still shows the future pool located adjacent to the Rec Cen, Brower said. She said the LRDP needs to reflect the new agreement made for the facility.
“The pool on the LRDP is next to the Rec Cen,” Brower said. “In my opinion, [this agreement] needs to be put in the LRDP explicitly.”