After being closed for repairs for more than three months, the Davis & Elkins College Senator Natatorium will re-open for special hours from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.
Last spring, the roof overhang of the 38-year-old Hermanson Center pool collapsed. Engineering studies later revealed the inner steel structure of the roof was corroded, leaving no choice but to replace the entire roof and pool ventilating system at a cost of $891,000.
Repairs include a slanted roof that will prevent snow accumulation and a ventilation system that keeps humidity constant and changes the air every 22 seconds.
Davis &?Elkins College will open the doors to its newly repaired Natatorium Sunday. ‘We are very excited to have this beautiful new facility to showcase our growing program,’ Nick Smith, head swim coach at D&E,?said. The college swim team will be one of many groups that utilize the pool.
"We are so fortunate to have this pool, and fortunate that the college spent the money for the repairs," Joyce Nestor, director of business enterprises, said. "Many thanks go to Executive Director of the Physical Plant Ron Selders, the D&E maintenance department and March-Westin, the construction company, for the installation of the roof and remodeling of the D&E natatorium."
To fund the project, a former member of the college's board of trustees, and a current trustee, each offered gifts totaling $300,000. In September, Student Assembly President Alex Torres made a surprise announcement that the organization would offer a challenge gift of $200,000, and begin a campaign to raise the additional $400,000.
"It's extraordinary that students would be this selfless, and instead of spending the money on themselves, they give back to their school," D&E President G.T. "Buck" Smith said.
Nearly half of the remaining amount has been raised in the first two months of the campaign. The emphasis on "together" is now the focus of the campaign, with students and National Alumni Council members planning two phonathons for a "peer-to-peer effort of everybody getting behind the 'Raise the Roof' campaign," Director of Development Jeremy Golston said.
Nestor explained that the renovations to the pool are "truly a gift to the community," adding that the facilities are used by the Elkins High School Swim Team and the Elkins Otters Swim Team.
Since it was formed in 2000, the EHS Swim Team has hosted an average of nine home meets at the college per season. This includes the Autumn Invitational, consisting of approximately 12 teams from around the state.
Similarly, the community-sponsored nonprofit Elkins Otters Inc. has made use of the pool for practice and swim meets since 2000. With an average of 80 swimmers, the club hosts the Spring Splash season and the Summer League yearly.
In addition, the college offers lifeguard classes that provide training and certification for approximately 20 lifeguards each year. Other community organizations use the pool for search and rescue diver certifications and triathlons.
The pool serves the campus community with aquatic classes, and is home to the Davis & Elkins College Swim Team.
"We are very excited to have this beautiful new facility to showcase our growing program," D&E head swim coach Nick Smith said. "It has already helped immensely in our recruiting efforts. I would like to thank our administration, the student assembly, President 'Buck' Smith and Vice President Kevin Wilson for their unwavering support and financial investment in the beautiful new Senator Natatorium. This project would have been impossible without their leadership."
Both the men's and women's swim teams host West Virginia University Club and Glenville State for their home openers at 2 p.m. Dec. 8.
Nestor said this Sunday's public opening is a chance for the community to see the improvements.
"We would really like for everyone to come by and see how wonderful the new natatorium looks and go for a swim," she added. Complimentary passes are available for people who would like to try out the pool or fitness center.
"The first time is on us," Nestor noted.
Regular hours of operation are: open/lap swim, Monday through Friday, 7- 8:30 p.m.; Saturday, noon to 3 p.m.; and Sunday, 2 4 p.m.; lap swim, Monday through Friday, 7:30 8:30 a.m. and noon to 1:30 p.m. The pool is located inside the Hermanson Center.
In celebration of the re-opening, the college is offering special pricing on annual memberships to include 13 months for the $200 fee until Jan. 4, 2013. Gift certificates are available. Family memberships are available to those who obtain annual memberships for $100 for each additional adult and $50 for each child. Monthly memberships are available for $25. A 10 percent discount is given to those age 62 and older, D&E graduates and Elkins High School students. The pool is also available for rent for two-hour parties. The fee is $116 for one to 20 guests, and $132 for 20 to 40 guests. Special events liability insurance is required. Call Joyce Nestor at 304-637-1266 to purchase a yearly membership or to book a pool party.
For more information, call the pool during open hours at 304-637-1202 or visit the D&E website at www.dewv.edu.