Just keep swimming, but not in Kenney’s pool

Underneath the rotted windows and crumbling bricks, Uni High’s Kenney Gym actually has a very interesting past. Uni High uses the indoor track, weight room, and gym, but it used to use a pool as well. Originally, Kenney housed many departments that once used the pool, such as the Kinesiology department.

About twenty years ago, Uni high also had access to Kenney’s pool, until it was closed permanently. The reason was not the roaches, but because it was outdated and needed costly renovations.

According to former PE teacher Rebecca Murphy (Merf), the pool was closed down because it was leaking water, racking up a large expense. PE teacher Doug Mynatt, also said it was in need of new ventilation system and a pump. Finally, in the early 2000s, the University decided that closing Kenney’s pool would be the most cost-effective solution.

Kenney Pool then began its almost two-decade journey as storage space after it was drained.

“In 2017, the University told us to take out anything we wanted because they were going to lock it up for good. I showed up one day and there were new locks. So whatever sits in there right now, will be there for good,” said Uni Athletic Director Tim Bicknell.

They later found out that the immediate closing was due to asbestos. Asbestos is an insulation material that can cause serious problems such as mesothelioma and respiratory difficulties if exposed to the body for prolonged periods of time. It would cost the University A LOT of money to fix it, but they felt as though it wasn’t worth it.

Bicknell also said, “ The University could have been sued if someone fell into the empty pool and got injured because there’s no railing.”

Murphy said that since Uni was the only one using the pool, the University was not very willing to go through with the costly renovations.

The PE staff listed what the pros and cons of having a pool would be.

Bicknell’s pros include:

  • Having another area for PE
  • Having the girls swim practice closer to the school, which would eliminate the cost of having to pay for a  practice pool 
  • Swimming is an important life skill
  • Very physical
  • Lots of fun games could be played.

His cons include:

  • Dressing could be a hassle (takes a long time)
  • Some students feel uncomfortable in swimsuits
  • Some very experienced swimmers could feel as though it was a waste of time
  • The older you are, the harder it is to learn how to swim.

Bicknell says that like the University, he feels that the pool could have been cleared of asbestos then been better utilized serving a different purpose. For example, a space for the gymnasts or another court of some sort. Bicknell also says that the gymnasts agreed and spent tens of thousands of dollars on bringing architects and engineers to see what they could do with the space, and they all came back with nothing.