UNH Outdoor Pool Fact Sheet
- A 2.6 acre University Pond was created prior to 1924. The pond structure included the existing dam, concrete wing walls, a dive platform, and a rock wall around the west and south sides. It had a clay bottom.
- In 1936, UNH closed the pond to swimming due to health concerns. UNH initiated an engineering study resulting in proposed one-acre “artificial pool” with filtration and recirculation.
- Completed in 1937, the new pool structure included a dike bisecting the pond, a bottom covered with granite pavers, a filter house, a bottom drain and three inlets. A bypass was created for Pettee Brook around the pool. The pool incorporated the existing dam, concrete wing walls, stone walls and dive tower.
- The Works Project Administration funded $19,300 and UNH $24,300. Based on the engineer’s original estimate, 55 percent of the cost was for the filtration and circulation system.
- Since that time, many modifications have been made:
- Concrete replaced or covered much of the stone perimeter wall, the granite pavers on the sloped bottom surface along the dike and the north end of the pool, the top of the dike, the sandy bottom area and the beach.
- The west side of the dike, originally paved with granite stone, and the remaining University Pond were filled in.
- The dive tower was lowered and later removed.
- The original system using Pettee Brook to fill the pool was abandoned. The pool was connected to the University potable water system instead.
- The three horizontal filters were replaced in 1990 with a single dual-stage vertical filter of the same total capacity. The chemical control system also has been upgraded.
- The bottom drain has been updated twice to meet evolving Virginia Graeme Baker Act anti-entrapment requirements.
UNH and the state Department of Environmental Services have cooperated for decades in an effort to keep the pool clean and safe. Most recently, in early 2013, a comprehensive review of the existing pool against current standards for a public bathing facility found the following deficiencies:
- Filtration. Pool water is filtered on average only once each 24 to 36 hours. The slow turnover hinders the removal of particulates, reduces disinfection, and results in poor water clarity. Current standards call for a turnover rate of a minimum of every 8 hours.
- Poor circulation. The pool has three inlets and a short section of distribution piping along one section for filtered water returned to the pool. Current standards call for inlets every 20 feet around the perimeter of the pool. The pool has an 800 foot perimeter.
- Lack of gutter system. Without a gutter system, leaves, pine needles and other material falling onto the pool surface remains in the water. Much of this debris settles to the bottom.
- Lack of deck. Current standards call for decks around the perimeter of the pool that slope away so that dirt and other materials are not washed in. Decks also provide access for emergency responders.
- Lack of bottom cleaning. The irregular bottom and pool size makes cleaning the bottom difficult. Debris accumulates on the bottom. During heavy periods of use, this sediment can become re-suspended in the water column, further reducing water clarity and obscuring the view of the bottom.
- Sloped sides and perimeter walls. The sloped sides along the old dike section are hazardous, as they are too steep for pool entry and too shallow for diving.
- Bottom visibility. The inadequate filtering, lack of gutters, debris build-up, and dark color of the bottom impair the ability of the lifeguards to see the bottom of the pool.
- Lack of shower and bath facilities.
- Based on current usage, which averages about 250 people each day, and on UNH’s projected enhanced programmatic needs, a 10,000 square-foot pool would be adequate for UNH and community use. The study team also developed a 16,000 square-foot alternative. Construction costs have been estimated at $3.7 million and $4.8 million, respectively. By contrast, the existing pool is roughly 42,000 square feet; constructing a maximally sized, functional replacement inside the current shell would cost $6.6 million.
- Community member comments have highlighted the valued amenities of the existing pool as including the zero-depth entry area for small children, the graduated and varying depths, the existence of lap lanes, and community space. All of these amenities would be included in a new facility.
HAMEL RECREATION CENTER EXPANSION
- UNH is committed to having an outdoor pool regardless of the recreation center expansion project. Plans for recreation facilities will not drive decisions about the future of the pool. However, these facilities have significant synergy and planning for one should inform and be coordinated with planning for the other.
- Several alternatives are being explored for the full build-out of the Hamel Expansion project. Among these alternatives, some versions overlap the south end of the existing pool to varying degrees while at least one version being studied would avoid the existing pool entirely, but would entail greater losses of parking for faculty, staff and visitors.
- Shadows. Our consultant studied the potential for an expanded recreation facility to cast a shadow over the pool area and found that any shadows would stay mostly within that currently cast by the Snively structure.
Updated August 8, 2013