We need to do something with the Natatorium

By Lauren Briscoe.

Northwestern State University has no shortage of old, outdated buildings. Some have been modified and restored; others have been left to be overtaken by vegetation.

At the center of activity on campus lies the Friedman Student Union, and directly to the side of it is one of these said buildings—the Nesom Natatorium. Built in 1938, the natatorium was a part of a Works Progress Administration project that expanded the campus. Later on, it was named after Guy W. Nesom, who was once head of the Department of Health and Physical Education and also dean of the College of Education.

For 74 years, the natatorium held many different roles, such a space for beginner and intermediate swimming classes to take place as well as an after-school swim program for children. Since its closing in 2012, the natatorium has yet to open its doors. Northwestern has said that the closing of the natatorium is due to the “need of extensive repairs to address Americans with Disabilities Act requirements as well as mechanical and structural issues.” Yet, eight years later, and the natatorium is still abandoned, a shell of the building it once was.

Maybe NSU does not need an indoor pool complex on campus anymore, as swim classes have been moved to the Robert Wilson Recreation Complex. There are countless other things that the space can be utilized for. Another on-campus eatery, a lounge for students, or another study space… the possibilities are endless. For such a prime spot in the busiest part of campus, the Natatorium should not have to go another day vacant.

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