Friday, March 12, 2004
Pooling resources: construction to start on Concord-Carlisle pool
After several years of fundraising, organizers of the Concord-Carlisle community pool will officially break ground for the project next Tuesday. The Concord-Carlisle Community Swim and Health Center, to be built on the Concord-Carlisle High School campus, will be entirely funded through the donations of private individuals and businesses. The pool center will be gifted to the Town of Concord when construction is complete.
Executive Director Deb Girard of C.C. Pools, Inc., the non-profit group overseeing the project, says that even though the estimated $8.5 million facility is not yet fully funded, it is time to begin. Thoughtforms Corporation of Acton will construct the building, which is expected to take about a year and a half to complete.
History of fundraising
The group has so far raised $6.5 million and has $2 million to go, a gap the group is hoping to close once people see the swim center start to become a reality. More than half of the funding came from a bequest from the estate of Alfred Sawyer, a Concord resident who died in 1939 leaving a trust fund for "the civic good" of the town. The present day trustee of the Sawyer estate allocated $3.5 million for construction of a community pool and an additional $1.5 million for ongoing capital expenses at the facility.
Though the donations already received have been very generous, the bottom line, says Girard, is it will take wider community support from families in both Concord and Carlisle to raise the final $2 million needed to complete the pool center.
The center will be "a permanent community asset, at no cost to taxpayers," according to the group's mission statement. The facility is expected to be self-supporting through program fees and memberships. Membership fees are planned to be lower than those at private health clubs in the area, says Kate Carr of C.C. Pools.
There will be three pools including an eight-lane competition pool and a separate 14-foot deep diving pool with one- and three-meter diving boards. A recreational pool for swim lessons, water exercise and physical therapy will have a sloping entry floor. All pools will be handicapped-accessible. During afternoon high school swim and dive team practices, there will be swim lanes left open for public use.
The center is expected to provide much-needed space for Concord and Carlisle Recreation Department programs. An exercise room is planned for classes such as yoga and Pilates, and there will be a kitchen area for community events. Changing rooms with lockers and separate family changing rooms are also planned.
The Concord Recreation Department will manage operations at the facility including scheduling pool and exercise activities and rentals of the building. The center will be open to all residents of Concord and Carlisle either through membership or programs offered by the recreation departments and other groups. The center will also be open for use at daily rates. Town employees from both Concord and Carlisle will be able to use the center, with reduced membership fees currently planned for employees.
Other organizations expected to use the pool center include the Community Chest, Emerson Hospital, the Concord and Carlisle Councils on Aging, and the Red Cross. Carr also sees the center as a place where teenagers can meet and enjoy healthy, safe activities such as special events on weekend nights.
The high school swim team now practices at the Minuteman Regional High School pool in Lexington and the dive team travels to the Atkinson Pool in Sudbury. Fees for pool use at Minuteman of $50 an hour will rise to $100 an hour next year, according to Brent Clark, Athletic Director at CCHS. The high school's costs for pool fees run about $8,000-$10,000 a year, not including bus costs.
The time impact of traveling to a pool is another factor for students. With a pool across the driveway, the swim and dive teams will be able to walk over for practices right after school. Clark said the pool center will be a state-of-the-art facility with the potential for generating revenue by attracting other swim teams for practice.
Plans for the pool were first brought before the Concord-Carlisle Regional School Committee in 1997. Since then the location of the pool site was modified to have the least impact on neighbors and to ensure it won't affect any future expansion at the high school. The new pool center will be just across the driveway from the front door of the high school. This February, Regional School Superintendent Brenda Finn signed an agreement with the town to allow the pool's construction to begin. Utility lines at the high school will be moved during April vacation, and construction will proceed so as not to interfere with regular school operations.
Ground-breaking March 16
The public is invited to the groundbreaking ceremony set for Tuesday, March 16 at 3:00 p.m. on the building site at the high school. The Concord-Carlisle Community Swim and Health Center web site is www.ccpools.org.
© 2004 The