New Olympic-size pool

Cal State Fullerton begins construction on the new Olympic-size swimming pool. (James Joslyn / Daily Titan)

An $8 million Olympic-size swimming pool is under construction at Cal State Fullerton, set to replace the 50-year-old swimming and diving pools located behind the Kinesiology and Health Sciences Building, according to a university press release. 

The pool will be 53 meters long with a movable 3-meter bulkhead that can separate the pool into sections, allowing multiple groups to use the pool at the same time, said Jim Donovan, director of Titan Athletics. It’s aiming for completion in March 2022, he said.

“Typically, much of the time, we'll have actually two 25 meter pools so you can have two classes going on at the same time. You can have a class or open swim or you can have two teams using it at the same time,” Donovan said. “It allows for more functionality than the old pool could've ever had."

The former pools failed to comply with code standards, according to the California Environmental Quality Act. The former swimming and diving pools were leaking up to 13,000 gallons of water per day, according to the press release.

Sarabdayal Singh, director of design and construction for Fullerton's Capital Programs and Facilities Management, said the leaks came from under the pool in the utilities and the water line. 

“We were moving a great amount of water on a daily basis,” said Singh. “The best case scenario was to replace the pools to a new pool.”

Donovan said it is suspected the pool may have been damaged by the same earthquake that closed floors in Pollak Library in 2014, but because it was in the ground, it went unnoticed. 

“Apparently, the leak got bad enough that campus facilities obviously noticed it, so it had to either be repaired or replaced,” Donovan said. 

Donovan said the cost to repair the old pool was over half of the cost to build a new pool, and there was no guarantee the repairs would be successful. 

"The new pool will cost about $8 million, and the estimated cost for repairing the old pool, which was over 50 years old, was about $5.5 million. There was no guarantee that even at $5.5 million that it would be effectively repaired because unless you take the whole thing out, you don't know for sure that you've repaired it correctly,” Donovan said.  

Donovan said students, staff and faculty will all have access to the new pool during designated times.

"We anticipate to have an open swim time during the week, during lunchtime roughly, so that students, faculty and staff will be able to come in and utilize the pool around lunchtime Monday through Friday,” said Donovan. “We haven't completely worked out the hours or the details but it's tentatively penciled-in for an open swim during roughly the lunchtime hours."

In the press release, CSUF President Fram Virjee said that the pool will be managed by the Athletic Department. Pool time will be shared between the College of Health and Human Development for its academic programs and the Athletic Department. 

“The pool will also be open for recreational swimming to all Titans. And it will be a revenue source – there is a significant demand for pool time from local off-campus entities. In sum, this will be a university asset that will benefit the entire campus," Virjee said.

Singh said the Olympic-size pool will give the campus an opportunity to look at adding more swim programs.

“The college is looking to see what other programs they can add, and athletics is also looking to add more events,” Singh said.

Singh added that the construction on the new pool is moving along. 

"We have basically completed the demolition. We have dug in the new pool. Underground utilities are complete. We are right now doing the tiling in the pool,” Singh said. “We are about 35-40% into the construction."

In an article printed on Sept. 7, the Daily Titan misquoted Jim Donovan saying that the new pool will be 53 meters deep. Donovan instead said that the new pool will be 53 meters long.

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