July 30. 2013 10:09PM

Supporters of preserving Durham pool to meet tonight

Union Leader Correspondent

DURHAM — Friends of the University of New Hampshire Outdoor Pool will meet today, with a goal of preserving their beloved historic landmark.

An organizational meeting of the Friends of UNH Outdoor Pool Group, or FUNHOP, will meet at 7:30 p.m. in the new town library on Madbury Road.

Community organizers plan to share updates on the 1938-era WPA pool, and plans will be discussed to work toward the continued preservation of the massive modified flow-through pool, as well as ideas for enhancing it.

Residents are rising up against a statement made by the university earlier this month that they plan to close the pool for good at the end of the 2013 swimming season to make room for an expanded Hamel Recreation Center.

The university said last week that no plans are finalized, and a working group is still meeting to come up with the best solution for a pool.

The university has expressed serious safety concerns about the pool that they say need to be resolved, no matter how the recreation center is expanded.

The town supports preservation of the historic pool.

“The pool is a cherished … state historic resource because it is so unique in its physical characteristics. It brings town and gown together in innumerable ways like few resources can,” Durham Administrator Todd Selig said.

The New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services conducts an annual inspection of the Durham Outdoor Pool and it has passed its last two annual inspections.

The university argues that is because the pool is not held to the same standards as modern pools due to its unique design and that safety concerns remain, although water quality is not one of them.

The university said it plans to hold a public meeting this fall to discuss ideas for addressing the safety concerns, which may include building a new, modern, smaller pool on the same site.