Biola pool closed for repairs until February

Facilities Services has begun a long-planned renovation on Biola’s outdoor pool, which will impact athletes and student workers.

Construction is underway on Biola’s pool through interterm to make repairs and complete a remodel. During closure, the La Mirada Splash! pool is open for temporary use. KATIE JURANEK/The Chimes


Construction is underway on Biola’s pool through interterm to make repairs and complete a remodel. During closure, the La Mirada Splash! pool is open for temporary use. KATIE JURANEK/The Chimes

Biola’s outdoor pool has been closed and drained in order for Facilities Services to begin its renovations. The pool was closed for repairs on Nov. 20 and is scheduled to open in February 2011. Facilities Services plans to complete the project before students return for the spring semester, according to Brian Phillips, senior director of Facilities Services.

“The pool has been in a state of decline for a while now,” Phillips said.

Swim and dive team moving practices

The remodel will not throw off the schedule of the swim and dive team practices. According to Don Simms, senior director of Auxiliary Services, Biola has worked out an agreement with the city for use of its pool. During the period that the pool will be closed, Biola has signed an agreement with La Mirada’s Splash! for temporary usage of their pool during the time when Biola’s pool will be under construction.

“The university will be allowed to use the pool only for swim team practice, club team, and for P.E. classes,” Simms said.

The Industry Hills Aquatic Club located in Industry, Calif., used Biola’s pool for club practices in 2005 when their local pool was demolished. They continued to use Biola’s pool until the Splash! pool was completed in 2007 and now in turn Splash! will allow Biola to use its pool during the time of remodeling. There is no financial cost for usage of Splash’s aquatic center due to a deal that Biola made with the city of La Mirada in 2005, according to Simms.

“Biola and the city have worked together in sort of a trade–off,” Simms said. Swimmers will be expected to attend practices during interterm.

Renovation badly needed

According to Phillips, Facilities Services has been waiting to begin renovation of the Biola pool for a long time.

Bretton Smith, a freshman swimmer at Biola, will be living on campus during the break and said he will walk to Splash! for swim practices. Smith is one of the many students anxiously awaiting the completion of the pool’s remodel.

“It’s my home away from home away from home,” Smith said, referencing the significance of Biola’s pool in his life at college. According to Smith, the pool was in dire need of a remodel.

“The bottom of the pool is rusty and the cement around the pool is crumbling,” Smith said. “The steps where guests are supposed to sit have chunks of cement missing. The pool is sadly the worst part of Biola’s campus.”

Complete remodel planned and financed

Facilities Services has also noticed the need for a remodel and plans to re-plaster and re-tile the entire inside of the pool in its remodeling. The entire plumbing system is going to be re-piped, as well.

“We will be adding an improved gutter system, new brighter lights, a refurbished deck and a new one-meter diving board,” Phillips said. The concrete around the pool is going to be replaced, with special attention given to the steps.

“There was a problem with having the steps be too hot for students, and we’re going to fix that by putting special material on the steps to make them cooler to the touch,” Phillips said.

Even in this economy, Facilities was able to identify sources for funding of the remodeling project, according to Phillips. By Phillips’ request the money is being funded by the 2009-2010 fiscal year budget surplus.

“Now is a good time to start this project when contractors are hungry for business in this economy,” Phillips said.

Student workers affected by pool closure

Many Biola students who worked at the pool on campus were affected by this remodel and are now temporarily out of a job. Numerous students who worked as lifeguards will be looking for another place of employment during Christmas break and interterm. According to Steve Eberwein, the aquatics manager, student lifeguards and swim instructors will be allowed to resume their jobs without applying again once the pool reopens.

Elisabeth Golden-Morris, a sophomore at Biola, was bummed when she realized that she would lose her job as a lifeguard and swim instructor at the pool. Golden-Morris obtained the job by chance when a friend told her about the school’s need for a lifeguard and swim instructor. However, Golden-Morris said she wasn’t relying on her job as a lifeguard significantly and was optimistic, even about losing her position.

“Having a job wasn’t really necessary for me and now I’ll have more time to volunteer,” Golden-Morris said.

The remodel was planned to occur during a time when most students would be away on break.

“We picked a time when there would be less impact on the campus,” Simms said.
Biola students will not be negatively affected by the remodel, and said they are appreciative of the upgrade.

“When I heard they were remodeling the pool, I was like thank you so much,” Smith said.

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