Six lane, 25 meter Pool
Oregon Tech to Close Pool at Klamath Falls Campus
The Oregon Institute of Technology has announced plans to close the university’s swimming pool effective Friday, Feb. 17, 2012.
University officials site a lack of financial resources to continue operation of the pool. Michael Schell, director of athletics, stated, “It is more than just raising the necessary funds to renovate and to repair the pool infrastructure. We would need to come up with a significant annual revenue source to maintain day-to-day operations.”
The pool is an auxiliary facility at the university and is required to operate from a self-support revenue base. The facility has been heavily subsidized by the university for several years. However, like all state institutions, the university is receiving significantly less funding from the state and can no longer afford to subsidize the swimming pool.
Schell said that other institutions with similar size pools require an annual budget of approximately $120,000 for regular maintenance and up-keep. “We have been operating the pool on half the annual funds needed to support a pool facility of this size. This has not allowed for preventative maintenance or renovations of any kind.”
One major concern regarding the pool is the need for a new plaster liner. The current liner has essentially failed and must be replaced. The cost of the repair is approximately $55,000 and there are no funds available.
Schell does not expect the pool to reopen in the foreseeable future. Oregon Tech students and their student government leaders have been asked to help set the direction for the facility in either funding and reopening the pool or reallocating the space for another purpose. Schell stated that whatever direction the university goes with the pool, student input and involvement is critical.
“An alternative to a pool in the space would be installation of second recreation floor,” said Schell. “Our facility was built in the mid-1960’s with a significantly smaller student population. Our single largest student request is for more gym floor access. We are the only Oregon University System (OUS) school that provides only one gym floor to students. The current floor is often occupied by athletic teams.”
Oregon Tech is not alone in closing its pool due to high operating costs. Schell stated, “We held on as long as we could and we hoped some opportunity would unveil itself. Only in that our pool is geothermally-heated did it survive as long as it did. Eastern Oregon University closed their pool and Southern Oregon University currently charges additional fees to students and non-students for use.”