Pool Committee Proposes Bright Future for UCC's Pool

The UCC Aquatic Facility Planning Committee on April 11 recommended to the board of trustees a new campus pool design at a total cost of over $3,000,000.  The committee’s three part proposal includes an upgrade to the pool design, a removable roof so the pool can be used year around and renovation of the existing tennis courts.

The school board must now decide how many or how few of these improvements to make.  UCC President Joe Olson told the committee during the board meeting that “the board is committed to reopening the pool.”

Olson informed the committee that $300,000 in UCC operational funds could be used for the pool. Olson also pointed out, however, that bond money could not be used for legal reasons.  The committee is also seeking donations and grants.

The restriction of the bond funds distressed Ed and Michelle Ottenheimer, members of the committee in charge of fund raising for the project. However, in preface to a list of fundsraising ideas which included corporate sponsorship, community fund raising and selling personalized bricks, Ed stated optimistically,  “it’s doable."

Michelle, expressing the public relations benefit of having the pool operational, said, “That pool is the first look kids get at this place.”  She also presented the idea that a safe place to have fun in the water will give future students a positive impression. 

The committee’s proposal, titled UCC Aquatic Safety and Learning Center, underscores the fact that the future of the pool is more than just a recreational issue.  “Thirty percent of statewide drowning [in 2011] occurred in Douglas County,” said Athletic Director Cheryl Yoder.

Dan Yoder, an institutional researcher for UCC and chairman of the board of Douglas County Fire District 2, also expressed concern for public water safety.  “Fire District 2 may have to cut swift water rescue training due to budget cuts.” 

Community concern for water safety as well as passion for the pool was also represented by planning committee member and parent Crystal Theesfeld whose eyes welled up when she added, “Having a safe place for my kids to play in the water is very important to me.”

When Theesfeld showed her 3-year-old son Wilson Bershaw the pool design, he asked, “Can we go there next weekend?”  Bershaw’s excitement symbolizes the community’s enthusiasm for the pool. 

The proposal’s upgrades to the pool’s design include a regulation lap pool, diving board, zero depth entry and a lazy river. The cost of these upgrades would be $1.6 million, only $27,000 more than the cost of refurbishing the existing pool without changing its configuration other than adding railings and a handicap lift.

The proposal’s request for a removable roof anticipates year around usage.  The proposed roof, at a cost of $674,037, would be an architectural membrane that can be removed. 

The renovation of the tennis courts will create a recreational picnic area.  This area would be separated from the pool to reduce the danger of falls.

This area could be rented out for community events which would require additional maintenance.  However, keeping the pool open year around and renting the recreation area both provide increased opportunities for revenue.

The committee worked with WMS Aquatics to reach the estimates for the proposal, according to Susan Taylor, UCC’s coordinator of grant development and head of the pool committee.  Taylor said, “Once the plans are approved by the board, the jobs will go out for competitive bid.”

The Mainstream is a student publication of Umpqua Community College.