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Plans for pool closure sinking fast

The Lady Beaverbrook Gym remains set for closure in late 2018, according to a press release issued by UNB president Eddy Campbell on Wednesday.

The release said despite evaluating various funding sources, the university can’t maintain the structure until a replacement can be built.

“We obtained funding for the Currie Center and the kinesiology building because our needs aligned with those of the federal and provincial governments. In the case of the pool, we’ve investigated many options and we’re unable to find an alignment,” said Campbell in the release.

Campbell said despite the current situation, the university will remain open to future funding opportunities with potential partners.

“Should priorities align in the future, we will be ready to talk. In the meantime, we need to move ahead with the capital priorities that best align with our academic mission.”

The release said the university intends to celebrate the facility and its near century-long service to the UNB community.

George MacLean, VP academic, said part of the problem is simply logistical.

“We’ve come to realize we just won’t be able to bridge one building into another in the timelines we face.”

MacLean said the university didn’t make the decision to close the gym prior to having a replacement lightly but rising maintenance costs forced its hand.

“We were investigating if there was a possibility of opening up a replacement building; what’s happened in the interim is we’ve come to realize we just can’t do that.”

MacLean said some of the facilities in the Lady Beaverbrook Gym may be relocated to either the Currie Center or the Centre for Healthy Living, but that others may be out of luck.

“[Some users of] the LBG specifically, it may be impossible for us to find some of those facilities.”

MacLean said once the gym is decommissioned, crews will begin to work on deconstruction to make way for a new parking lot for the Centre for Healthy Living.

“There’s a long period of around 4-6 months which will include cleanup and asbestos abatement, it takes a long time.”

MacLean said by the spring of 2019, the structure will be completely removed, leaving room for the parking lot and a green space.

“That will provide a much different kind of frontage for the city as a first view of the campus as [people] come up to it.”

Additional work on finding funding for a new aquatics facility is underway.

“We’re unable to provide a fluid transition from one building to another; it’s just impossible.”

MacLean said there’s not a firm date on a replacement aquatics centre, but that from approval to completion it would be a minimum of three years.

“Once an option and a plan was decided on, you’d still be looking at some time before it’s complete.”

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