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What happened to the pool?

(Photo courtesy Timothy Gorman) “The pool at Costello in its prime.”

Steven O’Hara
Connector Editor

To pool or not to pool? That is the question. Actually, better questions would be, “Where is the pool? Is there a pool?” UMass Lowell is a university that sits on 142 acres of land spread across the city of Lowell, Massachusetts. Since its opening in 1959, this school has seen many internal and external changes. The vastness of classrooms, buildings, and facilities has grown, especially after UMass Lowell absorbed Lowell State College in 1991. With a campus this large and expansive, rumors are likely to spread about what may or may not be present. In particular, there are rumors about secret rooms or buildings that may be hidden around UMass Lowell. One very important question concerning a specific infrastructure has been circulating the student body since before the start of this year, sparked by a series of accounts and theories that have yet to be accepted—until now. That question: is there a pool on campus? 

Well, the UMass Lowell community has finally received an answer. On North Campus, in one of the athletic facilities, lies an empty pool. The Costello Athletic Center is home to a concrete divot that sleeps dormant and barren, with no way of achieving its constructed purpose. The pool was once used by student athletes for on- and off-season training; whether or not non-athletes had access to this facility is still unknown. Although this answer appears to answer one question about whether or not the rumored pool existed, it actually raises more questions. Why is the pool no longer accessible? Where did the water go? Jonathan Strunk, Executive Director of Communications for UMass Lowell, has the answer, saying, “As with many universities and businesses, the pandemic required UMass Lowell to prioritize the use of all of our resources. When campus occupancy dipped during the pandemic, the decision was made to empty the Costello pool rather than invest in essential, significant and very expensive repairs.” The pool was emptied, not because people did not want to use it, but because people could not use it due to COVID-19 social distancing restrictions. 

As the school year has progressed and both new and returning students have settled in, many might wonder if access to the pool might return. Since social distancing restrictions have been lifted, why not open the pool back up? The pandemic, however, is not the only issue that has affected this recreational facility. Strunk says, “Like many organizations across the country, UMass Lowell continues to be impacted by the economic challenges regularly reported in the news, including an increased cost of goods and services required to repair the pool. For now, the pool will remain closed until the economic forecast shows significant improvement.” With the economy fluctuating so frequently, eggs aren’t the only product that seems to be inflating. For the foreseeable future, not much activity will be going on at the Costello pool, but who knows? Maybe one day the pool will be open for business once again.

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