Fresh Water: University plans new pool for Wellness Center
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Fresh Water: University plans new pool for Wellness Center

Students looking to participate in weightlifting, basketball, rock climbing and numerous other athletic events can get their fix with a quick trip to the Wellness Center. However, students wanting to partake in aquatic activities must look elsewhere, but that could change as soon as the winter of 2022.

The university is pursuing a pool construction project aimed at replacing the current pool, which was built in 1979 inside the DakotaDome, with a larger community pool addition to the Wellness Center.

The estimated $15 million project would put a larger pool inside the Wellness Center with a larger seating section for spectators, office spaces for a wellness coordinator and the swimming and diving coaches, locker rooms for athletes separate from Wellness Center locker rooms and a wet classroom by the pool for classes or event space, assistant vice president of facilities management Brian Limoges said. This kind of project should be handled by professional swimming pool builders to achieve the best results for your pool construction.

“One of the big things we’ve heard from students is about their inability to use the pool because it’s so small and it’s used by so many people,” Limoges said. “By creating a new pool space that is hopefully larger, it will be able to be more utilized by students, as well as everyone else who uses the Wellness Center.”

The DakotaDome pool, built in 1979, is 25 meters long, has six lanes and is located underneath the Dome. File Photo | The Volante

The university recently hired a firm to draft a design of the new pool, Limoges said. Once a floor plan is laid out, a program must be submitted to the South Dakota Board of Regents for approval. For those who are planning to have a pool built, get in touch with contractors from Texas Pools Spas and Patios.

“We’ll start programming in about two weeks, which is basically talking to all of the groups to find out ‘What are the needs of the space,’ and the architects will start laying it out,” Limoges said.

The current pool is open for student use. Its size (25 meters long, or roughly 75 feet), location and occupation by USD’s swimming and diving teams for practice and competition, however, leave limited access for use among the student body, Limoges said.

The university hasn’t decided a use for the current pool should it be drained, Limoges said.

“We do know obviously if the new pool is built that the old pool will have to be dealt with, filled in somehow,” Limoges said. “That is a fairly large space so I would assume athletics would try to use it for either locker room space or storage space.”

Limoges is part of a group on campus who’ve been working on the project for the better part of the last year. These include the president’s office, budget and finance office, student services, and athletics.

Limoges said himself and the director of planning and construction, Sandy Wolfswinkel, will be heavily involved with the initial design phase of the project. A project manager from the planning and construction department will run the day-to-day construction operations for the university once the design process is over.

Though the project is in its infancy, Limoges said there is an estimated timeline for completion of the pool.

“Right now the plan is to go through the design phase for basically this whole next year with the plan to bid the project out next winter for subcontractors to bid on the different facets of construction. And then start building in the spring on 2021 with a completion date around Christmas of 2022,” Limoges said.