SAC pool open to public, gender-neutral bathrooms installed

After five months of planning and seven months of construction, the updated Student Activity Center pool and locker rooms opened to the public Monday morning.

Refurbishments to the pool include a new deck and pool tiles, a movable floor, LED lighting, gutters, a filter system and a inlet system, which will allow for improved water and air quality.

There were also locker room improvements and two new gender-neutral changing rooms installed to the pool area. Kristen Kosuda-Suhr, director of facilities and operations, said gender-neutral changing rooms are what “the community needs” to be supportive of the LGBTQ+ community. She said they wanted to make sure every student feels comfortable.

The total cost of the renovation was $3.1 million.

“I’m very excited that the university invested a substantial amount of money into the project,”  Kosuda-Suhr said. “I’m also excited that they was very supportive of the renovation of that space.”

The gender-neutral changing rooms also benefit families attending the Learn to Swim classes. Fathers will bring their daughter or a mother will bring their son to the class and not know where to change, Kosuda-Suhr said.

“These renovations, but especially the (changing rooms), are all about comfort and safety,” said Darin Masselink, director of aquatics and safety. “The politics of it had nothing to do with this decision. It was just the right time economically as well.”

The six-lane pool has a depth of 1-to-4-feet, is 25-yards long and 42-feet wide.

In addition to students being able to play water basketball and volleyball, swimming classes will be held in the pool.

“It was just the right time to do this,” Kristen said. “We looked at this project as a 25-year fix. Anything we did would be a solution to a problem for the next 25 years.”