West Liberty University’s College of Education was awarded a $49,000 grant from the Charles M. Pugliese and Thelma M. Pugliese Charitable Foundation, Wintersville, Ohio, recently.

“This grant was a collaborative effort between academics and athletics and I appreciate the team of faculty and coaches who worked with us to write and secure this generous grant,” commented Dr. Keely Camden, dean of the College of Education. “We thank the trustees of the Pugliese Foundation for their support of our program.”

Exercise Physiology Instructor Rick West stands near the currently drained pool, now receiving upgrades.

Exercise Physiology Instructor Rick West stands near the currently drained pool, now receiving upgrades.

The money will fund improvements to the pool facilities in Blatnik Hall, named for Albert Blatnik a former long-time coach, director of athletics, and chairperson of the department of physical education. Centrally located on the main campus, Blatnik Hall also houses all of the football, soccer, track and wrestling offices, two recently updated academic classrooms and faculty offices for the College of Education.

The grant-funded upgrades greatly enhance the student experience and will provide the opportunity for new projects and initiatives based on the experience and background of College of Education faculty, according to Camden.

“Some faculty have experience as swim coaches, instructors, lifeguard trainers, swim camp counselors and competitive swimming at the collegiate and club levels, so this pool upgrade will offer our students yet another plus to their college experience,” Camden said.

The grant will provide funds for re-tiling, installation of backstroke, flags and landlines, new paint and signage for the pool area, pool lockers, storage carts and other pool equipment.

The WLU swimming pool, built in 1956-1957, was once home to a nationally ranked swim team in 1976. While the University does not currently have a swim team, several campus and community constituents make use of the facility on a daily basis.

Kathleen Wack, faculty member in the College of Education, frequently uses the pool with her physical education class. She also coordinates elementary school groups on campus for swimming lessons.

“The project will make my classes more dynamic, but will also benefit our entire campus community. We already have outstanding facilities in other areas of physical education. The pool update just adds to our program,” Wack said.

The College of Education offers degrees in physical education, health education, exercise physiology and athletic training. For additional information, please contact Dr. Rhonda Noble, chairwoman of the Department of Health and Human Performance at 304-336-8237.

Led by President Robin C. Capehart, West Liberty University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and for more information please visit westliberty.edu or call 1.866.WESTLIB.