A Deep Dive into the Pool Problem

Josh Lasko, Staff Writer

The once-bustling pool area now stands empty and silent, a far cry from its glory days as a top-notch facility at NEIU’s Campus Recreation. In previous decades, many people learned how to swim or taught their children in this pool, making it a cherished part of the community. The facility has received countless phone calls from patrons longing for a return to those days where they could rely on a clean and safe environment to teach generations of people how to swim or to simply enjoy an aquatic workout. However, the facility’s pool has been closed for about two years, due to the onset of the pandemic and the need for repairs.

According to a statement by Campus Recreation, the pool closure was caused by a leak that wasted thousands of gallons of water. An official report released last year confirmed that fixing the leak and properly cleansing the water filtration system were necessary steps to repair the pool. The same statement also emphasized, “NEIU has made this pool project a top priority, …, and for health and safety reasons, we want to take all essential steps to ensure the pool is safe and clean for students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members to enjoy”.

Despite these efforts, the lack of funding and overall financial incompetence displayed by NEIU in recent years have been major obstacles to repairing the pool. Tackling the project would require a lot of financial resources, and currently, NEIU simply cannot afford the burden from the expenditures. As a result, a large demographic of prospective community pass holders chose not to purchase memberships due to what staff members have inferred is a seemingly indefinite closure of the pool. Executive Director of Campus Recreation, Andrew Dutil, noted that the status of the pool is “slightly unknown” because the contractors are not entirely certain about the project’s timeline.

Although it is true that there have been several issues regarding the reconstruction of the pool, it is undeniable that the facility has made small strides in restoring the facility to its former glory. For example, Campus Recreation has recently renovated the steam rooms for public use, and patrons have the option to relax and decompress after a workout. According to the Campus Recreation Facility Coordinator, Facilities & Outdoor Fields, Derek Ansong, the steam room is, “a deserved treat after a workout.” As Campus Recreation continues to regrow, the community’s demand for the pool increases every day as patrons reminisce about the good times they had spent there only years ago. Despite the challenges, NEIU remains committed to providing a safe and enjoyable experience for all, regardless of the pool’s repair progress.