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UNG Pool Closed Permanently on Gainesville Campus

Potential plans for expanded fitness center follow this decision
Gavin Beck
The pool has been completely drained and entry has been boarded up.

The swimming pool in the Hugh Mills Physical Education Complex on the University of North Georgia’s Gainesville campus permanently closed on Dec. 16, 2023 due to an abundance of maintenance issues.

In May 2022, Counsilman-Hunsaker, an aquatic planning and design consultant firm, conducted an audit on the 56-year-old pool facility. This inspection revealed multiple significant issues including an unidentified leak in the outdated aluminum liner. The pool was estimated to leak 1 inch of water per day.

Staff members also reported other issues such as particles falling from the natatorium ceiling into the water. These black particles had to be vacuumed from the pool floor regularly.

Warped floor due to outdated metal lining/ By Gavin Beck

Counsilman-Hunsaker’s report concluded that the pool was nearing the end of its life and recommended a complete replacement of the facility. Costs for a complete reconstruction of the pool were estimated to be upwards of $900,000.

“The question became ‘Do we have enough interest in aquatics to build another swimming pool?’ and the student use was very low,” said Ken Harrison, Associate Director of Campus Recreation and Wellness.

This advisement, as well as a recent control valve failure, is what led UNG to close the facility for good.

A decision to no longer have a pool in the recreation center is being considered by the university. This decision would lead to a large amount of extra square footage that could address multiple large needs that the Hugh Mills Physical Education Center currently has.

Illustration of potential renovations to Hugh Mills PE Complex/ By SLAM Collaborative

Moving the existing fitness center will allow space for more classrooms and labs for the Kinesiology department, as well as storage space that the complex currently lacks. The future fitness center would also create more space for improved equipment and a safer environment overall for students.

“I think it would be a big change that would benefit a lot of people since there will be more space to work out. I would like to see a place with more room for free weights like deadlifts, squats and a sled pusher.” – Kevin Ntazika, UNG student and Fitness Trainer

The university has not yet announced any solidified plan to go through with the remodeling of the current aquatic and fitness centers. However, Harrison stated that the Office of Student Affairs is working to implement these needed renovations, but “it won’t be for a couple of years”.

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