Brittany Schock / Asst. photo editor
Ohio State Recreational Sports could be using $7 million from its reserve-fund budget to replace tiles falling off a swimming pool at the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion.
Don Stenta, director of recreational sports, said he is not sure why the tiles are coming off the sides of the pool, but he said the university is in the process of finding out.
“It could be the materials, it could be the adhesive backing on tiles, it could be the concrete, it could have been the humidity or it could have been contractor error — I have no idea,” he said.
Stenta said the project has been quoted as high as $14 million, and that Rec Sports has specifically set aside $7 million because they are splitting the cost with the Department of Athletics.
The agreement Rec Sports has with the Department of Athletics splits the cost of all maintenance and construction in the McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion.
The McCorkle Aquatic Pavilion, built in 2005, also needed its ceiling repainted, costing Rec Sports $2 million, Stenta said.
“Paint chips were falling off the ceiling into the pools,” Stenta said. “That was destroying the experience for students.”
If the problem is contractor error, Stenta said he is not sure if the university is leaning toward a lawsuit.
“I’m not certain about what will happen in terms of litigation and those sorts of things,” Stenta said. “Sometimes one of the university’s remedies in problems like this is to take a look at who is responsible and those sort of things.”
Some students said they feel the repairs are more than worth it for the university.
Josh Schechter, a second-year in accounting, said he swam in the facility in high school and the university should spend as much as they need to repair it.
“I think it is one of the most sophisticated athletic facilities in the nation,” Schechter said. “To keep Ohio State a top-notch competitor, we should spend the money and make the changes.
Molly Ranz-Calhoun, assistant vice president for Student Life, said the original tile subcontractor for the university was Westport Pools.
“We have not yet determined who will make the repairs,” Ranz-Calhoun said. “We are still working on those details.”
Westport Pools, based in St. Louis, did not return The Lantern’s phone calls for comment.
Stenta said he wants to stress that no money is being spent until the issue is resolved as to why the tiles are falling off.
“That is why we are holding the reserve funds and being really careful that we have enough money to fund the project,” Stenta said. “We just need to be really careful stewards and hold on to that money and then once the resolution is here, we can move forward.”
Stenta said with the construction of the building, the university sets aside money to prepare for things that go wrong.
“The fact of the matter is that when construction projects of this magnitude happen, there will be issues that need to be addressed,” Stenta said. “Either immediately once the project is done and then, over time, we’ve got to figure out what’s the problem and what’s the concern.”
Ritika Shah contributed to this story.