Heavy usage reduces lifespan of plaster in Gregory Gym leisure pool

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Photo Credit: Joshua Guenther | Daily Texan Staff

Students peeking through the fencing of Gregory Gym might notice a drained outdoor leisure pool surrounded by construction workers. Recreational Sports is replastering the pool for the second time in the pool’s 13-year lifespan.

“We love that students have this kind of oasis in the middle of campus where they can relax and exercise in, and we want to maintain it so they can have it for generations to come,” said Jennifer Speer, RecSports senior communications director.

The replastering is a regular, preventative measure. Pool basins are usually covered with a layer of plaster to prevent the pool from leaking, according to ABC Home and Commercial Services, which provides information on pool replastering. This plaster is also used to improve the appearance of the pool.

The problem is this plaster does not last forever, typically seven to eight years before it needs touch ups, Speer said.

“UV rays, chemicals (and) the use of the pool will all break down pool plaster over time,” Speer said. “As the plaster breaks down, there’s a potential for leaks in the basin, some rough patches, and obviously, aesthetically you don’t want these random pieces of plaster that come off."

Speer said because students frequently use the pool, RecSports decided to replace the plaster every seven years to be safe.

Head Lifeguard Tony Vo said the relaxed atmosphere of the pool makes it a popular spot during August and September.

“Especially during the months leading up to fall, it gets very, very packed because there’s a lot of people sunbathing and coming back from summer break,” Vo said. “They want to get their tan in before winter comes.”

The pool is currently being replastered during its off-season, from November to the beginning of May, but Speer said the construction should only take a couple of weeks to complete. 

Marketing junior Rubi Delgado said she used the leisure pool once a week during the summer due to its relaxing atmosphere and heated water. She said she prefers using it to other pools and expects to use it next summer.

“I would just use it because I was on campus and I didn’t want to go back to Riverside,” Delgado said. “I just like swimming in general and then Riverside, sometimes the pool wasn’t clean … When (the leisure pool) is full it’s a little intimidating, but during the summer it’s pretty relaxed.”