By Amoni Haynes | February 26, 2021
To the dismay of UAlbany swimmers, the University at Albany campus swimming pool has been permanently closed as part of an $80-million renovation plan of the Physical Education building.
Members of the University swim club, as well as other UAlbany swimmers, will be left without a pool until Campus Recreation can find an alternative.
AJ Raiola, president of the UAlbany Swim Club, said last week that the club had started a petition to reopen the pool after it learned of the pool’s imminent closure in an email last May from Campus Recreation. Raiola said the petition attracted 1,246 signatures.
The petition was brought to the Student Association president, who invited Raiola to speak with Campus Recreation Director Sam Axley via Zoom. Raiola was told that the decision to close the pool was final.
According to Axley, there is no timetable for a guaranteed alternative location for the UAlbany swim club because the pandemic has caused many facilities to have tight restrictions. The department has reached out to the Jewish Community Center and the Bethlehem YMCA but has not yet heard back if their pool and their pool facilities would be available.
Axley said that prior to the university going virtual in March 2020, 15 lifeguards were employed by Campus Recreation. Since the Fall 2021 semester, those 15 students have either graduated, didn’t return to campus, or accepted another work study position.
Meanwhile, the 30 members of the Swim Club conduct dryland practices such as calisthenics, according to Raiola.
Mike Nolan, Senior Communications Specialist at SUNY Albany, said that the budget for the PE building renovations is $80 million, and the first phase, which involves the fitness facilities and the pool, will cost $6 million.