Pool, athletic field upgrades highlight summer projects on WFU campus
August 16, 2007
Students returning to Wake Forest University for the fall 2007 semester will notice visible improvements at two recreational facilities: the indoor pool at Reynolds Gymnasium and Water Tower Field across from the Worrell Professional Center. The upgrades are among numerous projects that kept campus workers busy over the summer.
When the half-century-old, tile-and-grout indoor pool on the first floor of Reynolds Gymnasium closed for two months of repairs in mid-April, about half the overhead lights were not working and the acoustical surface of the ceiling and walls, coated with years of accumulated grime, was coming loose.
Workers drained the pool, erected scaffolding and scraped the deteriorating walls and ceilings down to the plaster base. Then they replaced the surface and painted it, creating a bright, inviting environment. Crews also took advantage of the empty pool and scaffolding to put all 21 overhead lights into working order.
"This is what it probably looked like 50 years ago,” says Jessica Finnerty, aquatics coordinator for the campus recreation program. “From what I’ve heard from (Wake Forest) retirees who swim, this is the first time they have all been on since the 1960s.”
She notes that to replace burned out bulbs in the past, workers sometimes climbed into a cavity above the ceiling and lowered individual light fixtures to others waiting below in a kayak.
According to Finnerty, who came to Wake Forest in 2006 after graduating from the University of Northern Iowa, more faculty and staff members use the pool than students. With its new appearance, she hopes more students will notice the pool during freshman orientation and take advantage of it throughout the year.
The pool is 25 yards long and has six lanes and three diving boards, two set at 1 meter above the water and one set at a 3-meter height. Pool depth ranges from 3.5 feet to 13 feet. Kickboards and water aerobics equipment are available, and at least one lifeguard is on duty at all times the pool is open. Both men’s and women’s locker rooms are equipped with saunas.
The pool is open for lap swim from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and for open swim from 3 to 9 p.m. on those days. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, lap-swim hours are from 6 to 8 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Open swim hours are 3 to 7:30 p.m.
At Water Tower Field, used primarily for intramural sports, the playing surface has been revitalized through a deep-tine aerification and top-dressing project. It had been at least six years since the process was last done, according to T.J. Peele, who coordinates the campus recreation intramural program.
First, tractors pulled equipment with large spikes across the 3-acre field to break up compactedsoil. Then, they spread 12 tractor-trailer loads of sand weighing 300 tons onto the field to fill inthe holes and level the surface. Now that the grass has grown back, the result is a softer and greener playing surface with improved drainage. That should help the turf hold up under the heavy use to which it is routinely subjected.
"Our athletic fields really take a beating,” Peele says. “Many people just don’t know how much that field is used.”
Peele notes the field endures a pounding by the feet of 4,000 players, officials and spectators in a typical week, roughly 1,000 per evening from 5 or 6 p.m. to midnight, Monday through Thursday. During the fall outdoor season, Peele expects about 110 flag football teams of 15 to 20 players each to use the field. The lighted and irrigated field, which just got three new electronic scoreboards in December and can accommodate three games at once, is also used for soccer, rugby, lacrosse, and softball.
Although no major building and renovation projects occurred on the Reynolda Campus this summer, Facilities Management and Residence Life and Housing staff stayed busy with smaller renovations, such as installing new carpet and furniture in Bostwick and Johnson residence halls. Some faculty and staff offices also got improvements.
Facilities Management also resurfaced Lot S by Winston Hall, replaced a sidewalk along Lot E on Gulley Drive and built a new sidewalk along the east side of Lot W1 adjacent to the Worrell Professional Center. The new sidewalk provides pedestrians a safe way to walk between Information Systems and Wake Forest Road out of the paths of cars entering and backing out of spaces in the busy parking lot.