The renovations of the University Pool are expected to be completed by the end of 2016, according to a statement from the Stony Brook University Office of Media Relations.
The project may even be done as early as this summer and ready to use by this upcoming fall, Assistant Athletics Director for Marketing Chris Murray said.
“As of now, everything’s on time, which is great to see,” Murray said. “Often times, when you’re working in old buildings, you start construction, and you find issues. At this point, everything looks good.”
There have been a series of setbacks since the pool’s closing in fall 2012.
The pool was first built nine years after the university was founded, making it one of the oldest facilities on campus. It was originally expected to undergo its first major renovation in 2012 at a cost of $8 million to $10 million. Construction did not begin until Jan. 12, 2015 at a cost of $13.5 million.
Between 2012 and 2015, funding was cut twice, which spurred legal obstructions.
In 2012, the university drained the pool in preparation for renovations. When funding was cut and the project was halted, the university tried to refill the pool and continue using it as is in the meantime, Murray said. However, in order to put water back into the pool and reopen the facility, the pool had to meet new guidelines. These could not be met without the renovations. The result was an empty pool that had to sit and wait for funding for what ended up being three years.
Thirty-nine out of 64 SUNY campuses have a pool, making it not entirely uncommon for Stony Brook to currently be missing one. However, the university recognizes the importance of the facility and the existence of the swimming and diving teams, Murray said.
“It was terrible. We felt terrible for our student athletes,” Murray said. “All we could do was just lobby and try to get the money back.”
Darcy Heuser is an alumna from the class of 2012 and the former captain of women’s swimming.
“It is sad that the pool has been closed,” said Heuser. “There are no alumni meets, no records being broken, no one to cheer on.”
Heuser was one of the last of Stony Brook University’s swimmers and divers to complete their college careers on the team. Many, including Hajime Ichikawa, an alumnus from the class of 2013 and the former captain of men’s swimming, were not as fortunate.
“When we found out the pool was closing, it was abrupt,” Ichikawa said. “There was a team meeting, and they just said they’re going to do construction on the pool so we can’t swim next year which would be my senior year.”
However, both Heuser and Ichikawa agreed that renovations were needed. Problems included falling ceiling tiles, sharp tiles falling from the wall, brown water occasionally flooding the pool deck, a broken pool heater and a broken shower heater, Heuser said.
“Even though there were all these problems, I still loved that pool,” Heuser said. “All the issues it had, made me love it even more. It was like the sad ugly dog at the pound that you can’t help but want to take home and give it a big hug. While there is no official opening date, it makes me anxious for the day that I can return for my own alumni meet and cheer on the next generation of Stony Brook swimmers.”
As the reopening nears, decisions are soon to be made regarding use for athletics and recreation. Murray said he anticipates that those announcements will be made by the end of this semester.