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Pool's closure creates conflicts

Oct. 4, 2000

Students, faculty seek replacement

By EMILY MCWHORTER

Reporter

Baylor's decision not to enclose the marina pool has left some faculty members and students scrambling to find alternative facilities to complete several programs.

The major reason cited for not putting up the bubble enclosure is the potential for poisonous methane gas to seep from the landfill underneath the pool. Another problem caused by the landfill is the sinking, shifting ground surrounding the pool.

The methane gas can cause problems if it gets inside an enclosed structure, said Burna Battles, assistant professor of health, human performance and recreation. 'There is no bubble over the pool because it would trap this gas inside,' Battles said.

The potential for methane gas and the unstable ground are the two problems keeping the marina pool seasonal, said Ken Simons, assistant vice president and business manager.

'The problem comes when you start building structures that will be occupied,' Simons said.

To make the marina pool operational year round, 6 feet of clay would need to be placed under the entire pool area, said Ben Roberts, manager of the recreation center and aquatics. The clay base alone would cost around $1 million. All of the structures would then have to be rebuilt over this clay base, he said.

'It would be a much better situation if we found another site [to build a pool],' Simons said.

However, he said there are no plans to build a new indoor pool in the near future.

Battles said he believes that, if students would write enough letters asking for aquatic facilities, changes would be made.

'It is embarrassing for a school Baylor's size to not have swimming facilities,' Battles said.

Battles teaches aquatics classes, and this semester his lifeguard training class was left without a swimming pool when the marina pool closed for the season. Three swimming classes were canceled for the semester. Other classes affected by the now seasonal pool are outdoor recreation, canoeing, sailing and water aerobics.

'[It's] not just hurting our classes,' Battles said.

The marina pool was also used for the water polo team, intramural swim meets, pole-vaulting training, lifeguard certification and rehabilitation.

Battles said he hopes the pool will reopen this week for the remaining two days of water training for the lifeguard class.

If so, the pool will only be open for the lifeguard training class, Roberts said.

Many students are angry about the absence of this aquatic facility.

Glenn Nathan, an El Paso junior, said he is in the process of starting a swim team at Baylor, but the lack of proper facilities is a problem.

Nathan came back to school this fall and discovered the marina pool would be closing.

'I just said, 'Great. Now what do we do?',' Nathan said.

Nathan is looking into having practices for the swim team at the Columbus Avenue Baptist Activities Center or the YMCA pool, but using these facilities would cost money.