July 8, 2011
From: Laura J. Woodard, Director of Media Relations
ULM studying feasibility of new natatorium opportunities
Students and administration at the University of Louisiana at Monroe have agreed to close the Lake C. Oxford Natatorium following a study showing almost $1,800,000 in repairs are needed to keep the facility fully operational.
The ULM Student Government Association approved a resolution in June recommending the ULM Natatorium's closure at the end of the summer session.
In a file photo from 2005, swimmers participate in competition at the Lake C. Oxford Natatorium.
The facility, built in 1976 and renovated in 1996, is in need of improvements that include a new roof, new chiller system, new ceilings and lighting, as well as chemical, pump and valve replacements.
The study, which was initiated last summer, shows an estimated total cost to the university of $1,728,900.
"The Student Government Association supports the closure of the Natatorium for the upcoming Fall semester based on the low student usage of the facility and the need to identify alternatives," explained SGA President Brooke Dugas.
"Many students have expressed to SGA their desire to see the Natatorium replaced by facilities that might be used by larger numbers of the student body. It is important that the voice of our student body drive all decisions made on this issue."
The same architect who designed Bayou Park and new housing on the ULM campus will visit in July to provide insight for the students and administration.
In the meantime, the Natatorium will remain closed pending a review of the suggested plans, according to ULM President Nick J. Bruno. The Natatorium staff will be reassigned to other areas on campus, he said.
"Due to the extent and cost of needed repairs, we felt it best to take this opportunity to review our alternatives," said Bruno. "This closure will also provide a period of time for all of our students to provide input on their long-term recreational and social expectations."
Bruno said he regretted the impact the closure would have on those community members, as well as campus family members, who used the pool and that the university is working with area facilities to offer alternatives.