Friday, February 8, 2002
Community pool on CCHS grounds closer to construction
Take the generosity of a Concord man whose gift will benefit his beloved community over 60 years after his death, add the present-day determination and generosity of local citizens and what do you have? A first-class swim facility about to be built on the grounds of Concord-Carlisle High School (CCHS).
Construction of a community pool at CCHS could begin sometime this summer, with an estimated 18-24 months to complete the building. The initial impetus for the pool came from a $5 million bequest from the estate of Alfred Sawyer, a Concord citizen who died in 1939, leaving a trust for "the civic good" of the town.
The pool project is organized by a private, non-profit group called C.C. Pools (Concord-Carlisle People Organized to Open a Local Swim Facility). According to Tim Atkins, a trustee of C.C. Pools and former Concord Recreation Commission Chair, trustees of the Sawyer estate allocated $3.5 million for construction of a community pool with an additional $1.5 million earmarked for ongoing operations and maintenance of the facility.
So far, an additional $1.5 million has been raised to date from Concord and Carlisle residents, with donations ranging from $100 to $600,000, says Kate Carr, C.C. Pools, executive director. The group still needs to raise an additional $2.5 million to cover the estimated $7.5 million final construction cost. All of the $7.5 million total will come from private donations, past and present, with no municipal cost for either Concord or Carlisle. Further donations are key to a prompt starting date for construction of the pool, says Atkins.
Plans began in 1997
Plans for the pool were first brought before the Concord-Carlisle Regional School Committee back in 1997. Since then the pool site was changed to relocate it to an area of the campus that would have the least impact on neighbors on Thoreau and Walden Streets, and one that would not prevent a possible future expansion at the high school.
In 1999 the Concord Town Meeting voted to allow the Concord town manager to establish an inter-municipal agreement with the regional school district to build on the land. The RSC recently approved the current site for the pool, which is on land across the school driveway from CCHS. The final location for the pool and the complete funding for the project took time to put together, according to Carr.
Three pools and a health facility
The 28,000 square-foot building will have three pools: a ten-lane lap pool with an adjustable length of 25 yards or 25 meters, a separate 14-foot deep diving pool with one- and three-meter diving boards and a recreational slide, and a handicapped-accessible pool with a sloping beach-like floor for swim lessons, physical therapy and water exercise. Some of the programs planned include swim lessons and training for children, adults, and seniors; diving lessons; CCHS swim and dive team practices and competitions; water safety and lifeguard training; scuba certification; water aerobics; and rehabilitative swim programs.
The building will also have a community area with a kitchen for meetings and functions, a fitness room for exercise classes such as yoga and Pilates and a room for child care while parents take classes. The Concord recreation department will manage operations at the facility including scheduling pool activities and classes and rentals of the building.
All residents of Concord and Carlisle will be able to use the community pool and health club either through membership, or programs offered by the recreation departments. Town employees from both communities will also be able to use the facility, with a reduced membership fee currently planned for employees, according to Atkins. "The pool is not just for the swim and dive teams at CCHS." says Carr, "We want to make the pool as inclusive as possible for residents of both Concord and Carlisle." For example, during CCHS swim team practices, some swim lanes will be kept open for members.
Teams look forward to pool
"It will be exciting to have a local year-round indoor pool available," says Cindy Nock of the Carlisle Recreation Commission. Every year it is a challenge to get water-safety instructors trained for the Carlisle Recreation summer camp program, she says. Currently teenagers have to travel to Andover or other towns to complete a water-safety program at a pool with a Red Cross instructor/trainer. She anticipates the new pool will have a Red Cross instructor to train swim instructors, as well as additional programs for advanced swimmers doing endurance swimming in the lap pool. Carlisle residents will also be able to take mom and tot swim classes, swim classes and swim exercise programs at the pool.
Today the swim team travels to Minuteman Regional Vocational High School in Lexington for practice several times a week and the dive team goes to the Atkinson pool in Sudbury for practice and meets because that pool has a dive well. "It will be more convenient to have a pool at the high school," says Shir Sadan of Carlisle, a freshman and member of the dive team. Currently, fees are paid to both schools for pool usage and the high school also pays for school buses to transport students to and from practices and meets, according to CCHS athletic director Brent Clark.
"We're ecstatic about having the pool right on campus so we don't have to send students to other facilities," said Clark. "However, it's not just a school resource, though it happens to be on school property. It's a tremendous resource for the entire community." Clark also envisions CCHS hosting major inter-scholastic swim events at the pool.
An additional $1.5 million endowment from the Sawyer trust is allocated for ongoing operations and maintenance of the facility. Along with the endowment, membership revenues and other fees are planned to make the facility self-supporting, according to C.C. Pools trustee Atkins.
Members of C.C. Pools are now giving local information sessions about the pool and health complex at private homes in both Concord and Carlisle. For more information on the project, visit the web site at: www.ccpools.org.
© 2002 The Carlisle Mosquito