After months of anticipation and uncertainty, the newly renovated Sutton pool and recreation area will open in about three weeks. Amidst all the excitement, some confusion arose regarding the availability of the pool.
To clarify: the pool will be open only to Sutton residents and their guests.
Leon Hayner, director of Residential Life, defended this decision. “Even the old Sutton pool was supposed to be exclusive to Sutton residents,” he said. “Each residential building has a special amenity feature, like the balcony at Ward Hall and volleyball court at McKean Hall. Sutton residents pay a higher rate to live here, so it’s a nice incentive.”
He adds that the pool and beach area behind the Campus Center is welcome to the entire campus to enjoy.
Adds Sutton RA Erin Lloyd ‘12, “I think we’re all really excited to see the pool opened for the residents of Sutton. Just like any pool, facility, or amenity belonging to an apartment complex, it makes sense for the residents of the building to have special or first access to it.”
Project manager of the new Sutton recreation area Laura Coar agrees. “As of now, the area will be available to only Sutton residents and their guests with their R-Cards, but we will see what happens and how often it gets used,” she said.
Despite how long it has taken the project to be completed, Coar has thoroughly enjoyed the whole process. “It’s been great because it’s the first major project where we’ve really had a huge input from the students. This is basically the plan that they picked and approved.” She explained that in the beginning stages of development, the project managers formed a voluntary focus group of students because “we really wanted their input.”
Coar found that the main thing the students wanted was a place to cool off, lay out and just relax. Therefore, the pool only goes as deep as four and a half feet, but it is “zero entry” and gradually becomes deeper, like the ocean. It will now be possible to bring a lawn chair into the pool and lay out while in the water. The pool, which also has a waterfall installed, will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Multiple lights are installed for night swimming.
After taking a tour of the entire area, it struck me how much bigger the area looks now than it did before the renovation. The lot is relatively small but designed to efficiently use all available space. To the left of the pool is a wide deck that spreads over the water made of Ipe wood that contains no splinters. The space is full of greenery and gives off a tropical oasis feeling, something the students really wanted. There also are a couple grills for students interested in barbecuing. Additionally, the space is wheelchair accessible and has wireless capability for students wanting to study in the area.
“The city of Winter Park loves the new recreation space,” Coar said. “It makes the lakefront look better, which is a value to Winter Park.” After all the hard work she has put into the new space, Coar is extremely excited to have the area finally opened for the Sutton residents to enjoy. Hayner feels the same way, “We’re super excited,” he said. “It’s been a year and a half in the making. The Sutton residents have been very patient and the end product will be worth the wait.”