UGA Moves To Demolish Legion Pool

Campus architects cite the structure's "physical obsolescence" as one reason to remove it.


n says it was begun in 1933 by the local American Legion Post, and finished by the Works Progress Administration in 1936. Since then, Legion Pool has been a vital part of summer life for the Athens and university communities.

This summer may be its last. University of Georgia officials have asked for permission to demolish the historic structure. They did so in a letter to Elizabeth Shirk, environmental review coordinator for the Historic Preservation Division, part of the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. The pool isn't on the National Register, but it could be, because it was built by the Works Progress Administration.

The university acquired the pool in the 1950s, though the City of Athens operated it through the 1970s. According to the June 26 letter from Paul Cassilly in the Office of University Architects, the pool has "compromised structural conditions that contribute to significant daily water loss."

A paper prepared by Ashley Baker Pruitt for the Athens Clarke Heritage Foundation newsletter notes that "recent approval by the state Board of Regents to replace aging Bolton Hall has resulted in an uncertain future for nearby Legion Pool. On a map released by the University outlining the proposed construction of a new dining hall in UGA’s Northwest Precinct, Legion Pool is quietly absent."

With its shaded pavilion and picnic tables, huge changing rooms and concession stand, Legion Pool is a popular place in the summer for both UGA faculty and staff and their families, and for community members. Like the UGA track further south on Lumpkin, it's a facility that those not employed by the university can enjoy.

It even has its own Facebook page.

This spring, UGA demolished another WPA building when it razed historic Rutherford Hall. 

"We think the university should move forward with a campuswide plan for its historic properties," said Amy Kissane, executive director of the Athens Clarke Heritage Foundation. "It’s something the university needs to do."



Rebecca McCarthy July 23, 2012 at 01:51 AM
Valerie, I don't think that renovating the pool is one of the options UGA has discussed. It would be cool if the student body voted to add on a higher PE fee to pay for any work to Legion as they did for other campus facilities. But I doubt that's going to happen. It seems short-sighted to me, but who knows what's driving this?
Horace Pope July 23, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Obviously we just need to consult with someone from Georgia Tech as to how we can restore the pool.
Alex Sams July 24, 2012 at 03:19 PM
I don't use the pool, but as a born Athenian I can tell you that Legion has a place in the heart of Athens. Also, Legion Feild holds many concert memories. It is a landmark. Bolton?
Rebecca McCarthy July 24, 2012 at 03:31 PM
Alex, Bolton is the dining hall up the hill from Legion Pool. UGA is going to demolish it. They're doing a lot of that lately....
Chatham Murray August 12, 2012 at 10:40 PM
...And taking over downtown buildings. The smallest county in the state could use property taxes from merchants.


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