It had been nearly a year since swimmer Jack Jee ’24 stood on the deck of Bristol Pool.
The facility closed in March 2022 for a $12.8 million renovation that included a total roof replacement as well as several major pool enhancements such as a new filtration system, water chemistry and control system, surge tank, lighting, bulkhead, scoreboard, and sound and timing systems. Amenities such as new diving boards, lane lines, starting blocks, record boards, and a diving harness for training were also among the facility equipment upgrades.
When the pool reopened in early February and Jee and his teammates returned for the first time, he was struck by the overall feel of the newly renovated facility.
“The new roof and lighting have changed the atmosphere of the pool,” Jee said. “Although I loved the old red roof that was a staple of Hamilton's athletic facilities, the new lighting along with the roof has created a nice modern feeling while in the pool.”
Senior Project Manager Tim Gadziala, who managed the pool renovation, said that while every patron and spectator will benefit from and enjoy the renovated facility, Hamilton student-athletes will not only see the upgrades and changes, but they will feel them, too.
“The new surge tanks and gutters will be able to better handle waves during races,” he said. “This will make for an overall better pool performance for our student-athletes at times when they need it most.”
The pool being closed made for an unusual season for Jee and his teammates. The teams commuted daily to and from neighboring Utica University for practices, with some members practicing in the mornings and others in the evenings. While the added commute time created some hardships and put some special team rituals on hold, it also strengthened the teams’ bond.
In my three years on the team, this is the most unified group, and we have the newly constructed pool to thank for that.”
“In previous years, having a meal together as a team immediately after swim practice was a given. Since the pool reopened, it has become something we cherish,” Jee said. “This season will be remembered as special because of the camaraderie that developed through this shared experience. In my three years on the team, this is the most unified group, and we have the newly constructed pool to thank for that.”
While the pool's reopening gave the teams a boost in their final days leading up to this year's NESCAC Championships, the rest of campus also welcomed the news as it meant Lap Swim hours were resuming.
“I am happy that our Hamilton community has a home pool once again," said John Geissinger, Hamilton's head men's and women's swimming and diving coach. "The renovation gives a great upgrade to Bristol Pool, ensures a beautiful place to swim, and a fast pool to compete in. ”
“Although I loved the old red roof that was a staple of Hamilton's athletic facilities, the new lighting along with the roof has created a nice modern feeling while in the pool.”
Accessibility and sustainability were also among the top priorities for the project. A new accessible entrance on the exterior of the pool and a ramp to get into the pool from the exterior were added. The previous portable chair lift to help those with disabilities get into the pool was replaced by two ADA-compliant chair lifts. Those in the lounge area will also note improvements such as added railings and improved ventilation.
In addition to the roof meeting new energy code standards, additional upgrades were made to equipment and systems so that they would be more energy efficient and provide better service, while all pool lighting was upgraded to LED lighting.
“We are grateful to our colleagues in Facilities Management for spearheading this incredible project, as well as our friends at Utica University and Colgate University for working with us so that our student-athletes could use their facilities for practices and meets, respectively,” said Director of Athletics Jon Hind ’80. “We’re all excited for this new era of Bristol Pool.”
The College’s Facilities Management team partnered with several companies on the project including Architectural Resources Cambridge (Boston), lead architect; Rist-Frost-Shumway Engineering, P.C. (Laconia, N.H.), mechanical, electrical, and plumbing engineers; Counsilman-Hunsaker (St. Louis), aquatics consultant; and LeChase Construction (Syracuse, N.Y.), construction manager.
The Bristol Swimming Pool was constructed in 1988 and named for William M. Bristol, Jr., Class of 1917, a fourth-generation Hamiltonian who served as Alumni Association president and longtime trustee, in recognition of his devotion to Hamilton athletics. Bristol’s leadership was a key factor in the building of the Alumni Gymnasium in 1940.