ISU to construct brand new swimming pool to replace over 70-year-old one - East Idaho News

ISU to construct brand new swimming pool to replace over 70-year-old one

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POCATELLO — A decades old campus amenity is being rebuilt.

The pool at the Idaho State University Reed Gym is being torn out and reengineered from the ground up. Closed in July 2021, the new pool is expected to open midway through the next school year, before the Spring 2025 semester starts.

“It’s been really exciting that it’s been shut down for a number of years and now we actually have a date,” said Chris Baker, Idaho State University’s assistant director for capital projects.

Reed Gym first had a pool installed in 1950 and that lasted for 71 years. In that time, the community and students have used it for both recreating and educational classes. Some of the classes taught in the pool were kayaking, beginning and intermediate swimming, stand-up paddle board, adaptive swimming, ROTC swimming modules and more.

Eventually, the pool outlived its lifespan.

“There’s just some major structural damage and the pool was leaking a tremendous amount of water,” Baker said.

Since the pool was closed three years ago, the most common questions among recreation staff is about why it was closed and when it’s going to reopen.

“I don’t think a business day has gone by since the pool closed that I have not heard a complaint or a question about what’s going on with the pool or when’s it gonna reopen,” said Karen Homstad, associate director of campus recreation.

Homstad even said rumors had flown around campus that the university would fill in the old pool and use the area for a skate ramp or pickleball courts.

“We heard lots of good gossip like that,” Homstad said.

The university never intended on doing this.

“We’ve always wanted to open the pool back up. We were hoping to be able to repair the pool,” Baker said. “And then it was determined that the pool couldn’t really be repaired and it would have to be rebuilt.”

Then the university had the issue of funding a rebuilt pool to worry about. The project moved forward when the university received facilities maintenance funding from the state legislature. Officials could not tell the exact cost to replace the pool.

So far, the university has been able to remove all of the equipment and the tile from the old pool. The next step will be completing structural work for the new pool.

The new pool will feature ISU black and orange colors and a brand new concrete pool deck.

“It’s gonna be a brand new modern pool with all new pool equipment, all new piping,” Baker said. “With the pool being so old, everything’s gonna be brought up to modern standards.”

Homstad said even though the pool has only been closed for three years, it’s been long enough now that many students weren’t here when there was a pool.

“For them it’s been forever,” Homstad said. “It’s always been closed.”

She said she’s been happy to tell people who have asked about it that there will be a new pool in that space in not too long.

“It’s really fun to tell people who have been waiting or those people who ask every week or the senior citizen, retired employee to tell them that it’s happening,” Homstad said. “It’s also pretty fun for the people who never believed they’d do it to say, ‘yep, they’re doing it’.”