WMU to close Gabel Natatorium amid COVID budget cuts

The university said the pool facility is just too costly to keep open.

Western Michigan Universtiy announced Wednesday that it will shutter its pool complex, Gabel Natatorium, in a effort to trim $76 million from its 2020-21 budget.

A university press release said the facility is in need of substantial repairs to stay open and it wasn’t worth the money during the pandemic and a substantial budget shortfall.

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“WMU did not get estimates for the work, but given the outlook of pool rental revenue with COVID-19 and the uncertainty of returning to normal operations, we did not feel it was feasible to reopen the pool,” said Megan Looker, the managing editor at the office of marketing and strategic communications, in an interview with MLive.

Gabel Natatorium has been available for public use since it opened in 1974. Many community groups and student swim teams have used it for swim lessons, open swim, and swim meets.

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