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Andros pool funding denied

The Andros pool is still in need of a facelift. After years of resurfacing and patch jobs, the nearly 40-year-old outdoor pool needs a complete renovation.

Earlier this year, Campus Recreation requested funding from the Capital Improvement Trust Fund (CITF) for the Andros pool renovations and other facility needs. USF President Judy Genshaft denied the funds because of the greater need for funding to aid construction costs for the new student union.

The Hillsborough County health inspector has threatened Andros pool with forced closure more than once, according to Eric Hunter, director of Campus Recreation.

“The plan, as it stands right now, is to try to patch it (the pool) as we go and to try and keep it running as best we can, until the point where the county health department says it is no longer swimmable due to safety concerns,” Hunter said. “Then we’ll have to turn to some alternative source of funding.”

Still, he said, the patching process is not the ideal method for dealing with the deteriorating surface of the pool.

“What we’re actually doing is smoothing the edges of the broken fiberglass,” Hunter said. “So every time you take fiberglass off, it’s exposing more of the old marcite surface that was under there before.”

Hunter said the time when renovations would become an absolute necessity is not far away.

“My original prediction that next year we need to do something still holds true,” Hunter said. “I think next year, we’ll come to a point where we won’t be able to keep patching it, and something will need to be done in a more permanent kind of way.”

The need for renovation of the pool comes from more than one voice.

“The pool definitely needs to be redone,” said Howard Lawrence, a USF maintenance mechanic who has also worked as the maintenance manager of all USF pools for more than a decade.

However, Lawrence said the maintenance and patching of the Andros pool is an inefficient avenue to handle the pool’s problems.

“It’s not in good shape, really, but I’d say it’s safe because we keep it that way, and we check it daily. It’s more work for my guys to do, and it cuts us back on man power and makes us short on other things we can do.”

According to a letter Genshaft sent to CITF committee members last month, Vice President of Student Affairs Jennifer Capeheart-Meningall was asked to examine the needs of Campus Recreation and the funding of such needs.

“My intent is to look at all of Campus Recreation’s facility needs, including the pool, and determine a larger cost for all of the facilities for either renovation, repair or replacement,” Capeheart-Meningall said. “It is my hope that by the end of this semester, to have a better handle on all of the needs of Campus Recreation. Then hopefully, by the middle of spring, be able to say these are the needs and these are the funds. Or that these are the needs and we don’t have the funding, so what are our alternatives?”

The funding for the pool is detrimental to the structure’s future.

“We’re just sort of holding our breath and trying to make things work,” Hunter said. “We’ve got a pretty committed maintenance staff that knows what we’re up against. So we’re going to just keep surging forward and try to keep it swimmable.”

Capeheart-Meningall said the Campus Recreation’s facility needs are important to see through.

“It’s not something that’s on the back burner,” Capeheart-Meningall said. “It will certainly be one of the things we address during this fiscal year so that we’ll at least know what we’re looking at and what we need to do.”

Lawrence said that while a decision is being made regarding funding for a long-term solution for Andros pool, he would continue to keep the pool secure.

“We’ll keep (the pool) safe,” Lawrence said. “That’s our job, and we’ll keep it safe.”