The University of New Hampshire is committed to having an outdoor pool, both for its own programming purposes and as a resource to share with our neighbors in Durham. Our goal in the next few months is to develop a plan for a facility that is both safe and financially sustainable. A town/gown working group has developed alternatives which we will discuss at an open forum to be scheduled early in the fall.
Everyone should understand that we at the university are very concerned about the extensive list of deficiencies associated with the existing facility. We are no longer able to accept the health and safety risks they present for our community. Moreover, there is no realistic scenario that will mitigate these risks sufficiently to continue to operate the current pool, despite the attachment many of us feel to its history. Instead, the working group has looked at replacement scenarios for the current site, which would augment the pool’s functioning for all users as both a swimming pool and community resource.
While any solution for this site also will contribute to a solution for a long-standing need to address the demand for expanded recreational fitness facilities for UNH students (and community members who choose to join), this should not be mistaken for the impetus for our decision as the safety and health issues surrounding the outdoor pool are paramount in our thinking. Regardless, we believe that the site is adequate in size to accommodate both an expanded recreation center and an outdoor pool that meets the needs of the university and the town.
We look forward to discussing sustainable alternatives with members of the community this fall and to developing a plan that will serve the needs of both residents and students.