The new pool at the Robert H. Ewalt Student Recreation Center features a variety of aquatic activities for the Texas Tech community to enjoy. Conveniently located in the heart of the student the rec sports area of campus, students are lining up for their opportunity to dive in. Opened in 2009, the pool averages 573 visits in daily use.
The facility was designed and fully funded by students through an increase in student recreation fees. “I really think the key for us was having a variety of things for the students to do,” says Melissa Hogle, Aquatic director. “We already cater to a lot of fitness swimmers by having the indoor Olympic-size pool, but we really wanted a place where the students could go to feel comfortable and really hang out and have fun.”
Students can float along the lazy river, take part in games of water volleyball or basketball with friends, or soak in the large hot tub. For the kids, or just the kids at heart, there’s also a separate pool is home to a drop slide and a diving board. One of the most exciting new features is the bubble couch, which consists of an isolated aquatic bench that massages its users with a chorus of bubbles while they recline.
The facility also features a café and several dry deck areas for soaking up the sun. It’s also the first, and currently the only, outdoor location on campus to be fully WiFi enabled, so students can study poolside. “I believe the construction of the pool really shows Texas Tech’s commitment to the students, not only for academics, but also for their personal welfare,” says Hogle.
The construction of the leisure pool provides Texas Tech with a new way to recruit students and makes a statement to the faculty, staff and community regarding the steadfast commitment by the university to expand and have unique, top-of-the-line facilities. Access to the leisure pool is free for currently enrolled students. For individuals who are not currently enrolled, a $75 membership to the Rec center is required for access to the pool for both summer sessions. The pool offers various family hours for children to enjoy, and it is available to rent for small group and birthday parties, which include aquatic staff party hosts and lifeguards.
The two-acre complex is revolutionary in a collegiate setting due to its versatile arrangement of activities, size and creative design. Staff personnel and student leaders worked closely with the design team from the earliest programming stages of the project to the start-up of systems. Interim stages of design were carefully scrutinized and refined at each milestone. University staff selected all of the project materials and finishes to ensure the project fit seamlessly into the campus aesthetic.
NUTS & BOLTS
Cost: $7 million
Aquatic space: 67,000
Dream amenities: 645-foot lazy river/leisure pool combination with a wet deck and four lap lanes; A diving well with a drop slide and diving board; 25-person hot tub; 8-lane training/lap pool; and a bubble “couch”
- Dream Designer: Brinkley Sargent Architects
- Aquatic Designer: Counsilman-Hunsaker
- MEP/Civil Engineering: Parkhill, Smith & Cooper
- Structural Engineering: Structural Engenuity Inc.
- Landscape Architect: Clark Condon Associates
- Construction Manager: Western Builders
- Pool Contractor: Sunbelt Pools
- Amerlite, Visionaire: Lighting
- Crystal Fountains: Water-play equipment
- Duraflex: Dive stands
- Nemato: Filters, pumps sanitation
- Marlon, Paco Pumps: Pumps
- Pentair Water Commercial Pool and Aquatics, BECS: Chemical control
- Spectrum Products: Pool covers, ladders/grab bars
- Sun Ports: Sun Shades
- Tufftec: Lockers
- UltraPoly One Coat: Pool finish
- Whitewater West Industries: Water slides