State: UNH pool qualifies for historic status
The state Division of Historical Resources says the University of New Hampshire’s outdoor pool qualifies for the National Register of Historic Places based on its unique construction and connection to the New Deal era.
The designation for the pool is a first step toward being listed on the National Register, but it’s no guarantee the pool will ultimately be saved.
The university isn’t planning to reopen the 75-year-old pool. It’s planning to build a new campus pool between 10,000 and 16,000 square feet.
Some residents are pushing to save the pool, which opened in 1938 as a Works Progress Administration project under President Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Foster’s Daily Democrat reported UNH spokeswoman Erika Mantz said the university recognizes the historic significance of the pool and has been working with the New Hampshire Division of Historical Resources.
“This designation has no binding requirements associated with it, but we are committed to working . . . to develop a strategy to mitigate the impact of a retrofit or replacement as appropriate,” she said in a statement.
UNH has not ruled out the possibility of upgrading the existing structure – which would cost more than building a new pool – but it has asked the town to help cover the difference.
“While there are other pools nationally that compare to the UNH pool, it (is) a rare surviving example of a stone pool and of a (now modified) flow-through water system,” the Division of Historical Resources said in its letter.