The University of Bath is well renowned for having some of the greatest university sports facilities in the country. The incredible opportunities available were even one of the major factors in my decision to study at Bath.
A large multi-purpose gymnasium, a 400 metre athletics track alongside jump and throw facilities, an Olympic size swimming pool, indoor running track, many AstroTurf and grass pitches and numerous sport courts are all accessible to students. Additionally, there are massage treatments rooms and a sports injury clinic which sports clubs regularly use. Many Olympic and Commonwealth athletes and medallists have benefitted from these facilities in recent years and the Australian Rugby team will be using Bath as a base when they stay in the UK for the Rugby World Cup next year.
However, one of the most popular of these facilities amongst students, the 50m swimming pool will now be closed until spring 2015. Refurbishments and upgrades to the pool were always planned, but were supposed to start over the summer. Instead, work was delayed and the pool finally shut for users on Friday 19 September, just one day before freshers started arriving in Bath, maximising the impact for university students.
If the clubs who are most affected by the closure are satisfied by the rearrangement then we must give the Students’ Union credit. The SU are there to look after the needs of Bath students and on this occasion have clearly done a lot of work to minimise the impact felt and to ensure that Sports Clubs remain at the upper echelons of the University rankings.
The Student s’ Union opinion on the matter was that “With the pool refurbishment underway, the efforts of the Students’ Union have been focused upon mitigating the impact of this work on our students’ experience. We are aware that the refurbishment will cause inconvenience, but we have been given good reason why the work cannot be postponed. As such, we have secured alternative facility access for our student clubs for the period of the closure, a discounte dSports Pass where necessary and we are now working with Aquaterra to provide a discount for leisure pool users.”
The refurbishment is aimed at installing one of the state-of-the-art legacy pools from the 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games which will improve the facilities on offer at the Sports Training Village.
Whilst improvements are always welcomed and the SU have done a very good job in minimising the effect of pool users, the closure is still very frustrating for individuals who will not be given transport to travel to alternative pools like sports clubs and therefore will be greatest affected by the lengthy closure.
We must also remember that the University of Bath is an institution that will remain popular for many years to come. Therefore, planning for the future is essential and whilst it is unfortunate for the people who are currently studying at the University and will be affected by the closure, the improvements should have long-lasting benefits which future students will be able to enjoy. This means the Students’ Union standpoint is fully understandable and the efforts to minimise inconvenience felt by current students and clubs will hopefully be successful.