Trustees approve Linsey Pool renovations
The Board of Trustees unanimously approved a plan yesterday to renovate the Linsey Pool for $3 million, Senior Vice President for Administration Mark Collins said today in an interview with the Justice. Collins said the renovation project includes repairs to the mechanical and electrical systems, repairs to the pool and the pool deck, new lighting in the facility, new team locker rooms, a new lobby and a refurbished entryway.
The renovations will begin later this spring with an expected completion date of early 2012, according to a BrandeisNOW press release.
The Linsey Pool opened in 1966 and was closed in fall 2008 due to infrastructure problems such as the broken pool heating systems, which the University decided not to immediately repair primarily because of financial constraints, according to Collins.
In 2008, then-Senior Vice President for Communications Lorna Miles estimated that replacement of the broken aspects of the pool would cost about $2 million and a complete renovation of the pool facility would cost about $10 to $12 million, according to a Nov. 18, 2008 Justice article.
Collins said while the Linsey Pool is one of several campus facilities that have experienced "deferred maintenance," such as the Usen Castle, Foster Mods and East Quad residence halls, the pool is the only building that is closed on campus.
The pool renovations will be funded through a capital lease finance agreement, wrote Senior Vice President for Finance and Chief Financial Officer Frances Drolette in an e-mail to the Justice. Drolette did not respond to further requests for comment by press time.
After the closure of the pool in 2008, the Brandeis swimming and diving team continued to compete and practice using facilities at Regis College, Bentley College, Babson College and Wellesley College, according to a May 19, 2009 Justice article.
The swim team, however, was officially suspended at the end of the 2009-2010 season, according to a Sept. 14, 2010 Justice article.
The Athletics Department plans to appoint a swim coach by this summer and will begin the process of recruiting new students for swimming next year, Director of Athletics Sheryl Sousa '90 said in an interview with the Justice this morning.
Sousa added that the varsity swim team would likely be reinstated by 2013.
Assistant Athletics Director James Zotz served as the swimming coach prior to the team's suspension in 2008, but Sousa said she is unsure if Zotz will return to the swim team.
Student Union President Daniel Acheampong '11 said in an interview with the Justice that "the pool has been an important concern for students since it closed and in a lot of the meetings I had with President Lawrence, ... [the Student Union] made sure the pool was an important concern; we kept on pushing for it."
Acheampong explained that the Student Union presented a video to the Board of Trustees that voiced students concerns about the pool.
"I went around asking students what were their concerns about the pool, ... and we recorded what students were saying and we gave a presentation to the Board of Trustees," he said.
Senior Representative to the Board of Trustees Heddy Ben-Atar '11 said in an interview with the Justice, "We started being more aggressive about [the Linsey Pool] as a concern in October, where we presented the Board of Trustees a video of students talking about how they want a pool. ... Then we worked really closely with the administration, and the administration worked on our side."
Acheampong noted that student reaction to the news has been positive and that the pool would be an important factor for admissions and retention.
"Having those kind of facilities to support our programs on campus, it really helps with the development and the growth of an institution. ... Students are really happy about [the pool]; they are really excited about the decision. ... I think [the Board of Trustees and president Lawrence] made a great step really moving Brandeis forward," said Acheampong.
-Ian Cutler, Brian Fromm and Robyn Spector contributed reporting.
Editor's note: The Justice will publish an expanded version of this article with more in-depth coverage in our April 5 issue.