December 13, 2013

State: Unique UNH pool worthy of historic status

The university had planned to replace the 75-year-old pool, but state officials say it merits preservation.

The Associated Press

DURHAM, N.H. — The state Division of Historical Resources says the University of New Hampshire’s outdoor pool qualifies for the National Register of Historic Places based on its unique construction and connection to the New Deal era.

The designation for the pool is a first step toward being listed on the National Register, but it’s no guarantee the pool will ultimately be saved.

The university isn’t planning to reopen the 75-year-old pool, citing health and safety reasons. It wants to build a new one.

Some residents are pushing to save the pool, which opened in 1938 as a Works Progress Administration project under President Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Foster’s Daily Democrat reports that UNH spokeswoman Erika Mantz said the university recognizes the historic significance of the pool and has been working with the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources. UNH has not ruled out the possibility of upgrading the existing structure – which would cost more than building a new pool – but it has asked the town to help cover the difference.

“While there are other pools nationally that compare to the UNH pool, it (is) a rare surviving example of a stone pool and of a (now modified) flow-through water system,” the Division of Historical Resources said in its Dec. 6 letter.

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