ST. GEORGE — Dixie State University officials are always working on the next big thing.
The Eccles Fitness Center has served students for over a decade and acted as the central training location for student-athletes before the Frank Habibian Wrestling and Athletic Center was completed, bringing relief to the congestion the small facility had been experiencing for years.
The Eccles gained a little more breathing room earlier this year when the university opened the Human Performance Center to its students. Following the grand opening of the Human Performance Center, Jason Boothe, director of athletics, told St. George News that facilities management set their sights on how the university can effectively use the Eccles Fitness Center and its pool.
“There’s a multitude of needs to meet,” Boothe said. “There’s a need for the master’s program, but there’s also a need for the athletes, as well, to have a rehab and large central training room, which we just don’t have today.”
Ultimately, officials made the decision to close the pool and announced that the closure will take effect on Dec. 14. A large part of the decision was based on cost, Boothe said.
“There’s not the need for it, and quite honestly the cost to maintain it isn’t worth any needs that it might be able to meet,” he said. “The costs outweigh the benefits.”
The closure is not the end of the Eccles, however. Moving forward, the building will be renovated to better serve students working toward their graduate degrees in the Master of Athletic Training program. Student-athletes — and potentially students, alumni and the community — will be able to use the facility for practical application and active learning.
“It will kill several birds with one stone with giving our athletes a central location for athletic training but also give a good practical lab for the master’s students to work in,” he said. “Right now, there’s not really a space for us to have them do that with our current athletic training facilities.”
The largest central training room available, he said, is nowhere near large enough to accommodate the growing athletics program, and the renovated Eccles facilities would be the perfect place to provide the necessary amenities to student-athletes, not only as the program grows but also as it grows into a Division I program.
The Human Performance Center, which is not generally open to the public aside from a select day out of the year, will make the pool available for rent to host community swim competitions, which was previously done through the Eccles Fitness Center pool.
“I’m sure it will be different, but it doesn’t mean that the pool in the HPC is going to be completely off-limits for the community, it will just be in different ways, from organized groups to rentals to possibly lessons,” Boothe said.
However, he said, there is still a lot the be determined. Although there haven’t been any specified plans for the pool itself, Boothe said university officials are actively discussing how the space can be used in a cost-effective and beneficial way for students.
Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2019, all rights reserved.