December 11, 2012 9:41:57 AM
STARKVILLE -- The swimming facility in the Joe Frank Sanderson Center at Mississippi State University is undergoing some maintenance renovations and is not set to reopen until students return Jan. 7.
"This is the first time we have had to do this," said Brent Crocker, associate director for programming for the Sanderson. "It's one of those things that had to be done, though."
The metal ceiling structure that covers the indoor pool has shown some signs of corrosion from the pool chemicals, Crocker explained, adding that the corrosion comes with the territory with indoor pools.
"It's a pretty harsh environment on metals," he said.
Crews have been using high pressure blasting techniques to remove as much of the corrosion as possible, and when they finish that, a special coat of primer and paint will be applied. Crocker said this should be a long-term fix but not a permanent one.
"It would be nice if it was the last time we had to do this," he said. "But eventually down the road it may have to be done again. It would be 15 or 20 years at least, though."
The multi-use recreational facility opened in 1998.
Because the Sanderson Center is open for anyone to join, the closing not only affects students but faculty and Starkville residents.
According to Crocker, the natatorium is used consistently on a year-round basis. With the weather being so unpredictable in the late fall and winter months, there is always an increase in the number of pool parties and special groups trying book the facility.
"But one of our biggest challenges has been the Starkville Shockwave, our community's USA swim team," Crocker said. "They have had to look for other places to practice, and I think they have had to go over to Columbus."
The Sanderson Center is dedicated to the students and faculty of MSU first, which played into the decision of making the renovations now, but Crocker said they are not overlooking their community ties.
The Sanderson Center also closes for a couple weeks during Christmas and New Year's, anyway, which also played into the urgency to begin the project.
Crocker added that he realizes that it is difficult to duplicate the services a pool provides, but that he is urging those who are seeking aerobic activity to seek out any of the multitude of classes, group and individual, that the Sanderson offers.
All work on the ceiling should be completed by Dec. 31, Crocker said. He added that following some shelf work, patching up plaster spots and filling the pool, everything should be back in business the day classes begin.