Texas Tech: Making a Splash!

Texas Tech University’s new Student Leisure Pool, touted as the newest, largest and most prestigious of its kind in the country, is now open.

Written by: Hardy Elkins

The Student Leisure Pool at the Robert H. Ewalt Student Recreation Center features a variety of aquatic activities for the Texas Tech community to enjoy.

Students are lining up for their opportunity to dive into the newest addition to the Texas Tech campus.

Almost three years after the initial groundbreaking ceremonies, the Student Leisure Pool at the Robert H. Ewalt Student Recreation Center is open for business, making Texas Tech the fifth Big 12 school to feature such a facility.

According to Melissa Hogle, Student Recreational Sports assistant director for aquatics, the two-acre complex is revolutionary in a collegiate aspect by its versatile arrangement of activities, size and creative design.

Students can enjoy a slow ride down the lazy river, or take part in either a game of water volleyball or basketball with friends. For the kids, or just the kids at heart, a separate pool is home to a 15-foot slide and a diving board. In case hunger strikes, a poolside Sam’s Place offers fresh sandwiches, smoothies and refreshments.

More interested in relaxation? Then soak in the large hot tub which seats up to 20 people. One of the most exciting new features is the bubble couch, which consists of an isolated aquatic bench that massages its users with a chorus of bubbles while they recline and enjoy the afternoon.

For those not looking to get wet, the facility features several areas designated for laying out and soaking up the sun. Covered tables and chairs, as well as wireless access, also are available within the fences of the facility.

"I believe the construction of the pool really shows Texas Tech's commitment to the students, not only for academics, but also for their personal welfare," said Hogle.

The $8,250,000 facility, overwhelmingly approved in an October 2006 student election, was designed and fully funded by students through an increase in student recreation fees. Hogle believes the facility cost is a great investment in order to present a healthy environment for students.

"I really think the key for us was having a variety of things for the students to do. We already cater to a lot of fitness swimmers by having the indoor Olympic-size pool, but we really wanted a place where the students could go to feel comfortable and really hang out and have fun."

According to Hogle, not only does the construction of the leisure pool present Texas Tech with an opportunity to recruit more potential students, but it makes a statement to the faculty, staff and Texas Tech community regarding the steadfast commitment by the university to expand and have unique, top-of-the-line facilities.

Access to the leisure pool is free for currently enrolled students. For individuals who are not currently enrolled, a $75 membership to the rec center is required for access to the pool for both summer sessions. The pool offers various family hours for children to enjoy, and it is available to rent for small group and birthday parties, which include aquatic staff party hosts and lifeguards.