Friday, June 9, 2006
Everyone's into the swim at the new Beede Center
The Beede Swim and Fitness Center, better known as the Concord Carlisle Community Swim and Fitness Center, and still better known as C.C. Pools, opened just before April school break and has been a busy place ever since. Young and old and everyone in between have found a welcoming community center with much to offer.
Located next to Concord-Carlisle High School, C.C. Pools offers four pools: a lap pool, a warm water therapy pool, a diving well and a children's play pool. There are also cardiovascular and strength-training rooms, with trainers available.
We spoke to a number of Carlisle residents who are members, and most of them have found the center to be wonderful. Thornton Ash, for example, likes to swim laps in the morning. "It's a beautiful facility," he says. "The pool area is well laid out." He adds, "It's a great resource. It appeals to a wide range of ages, and everyone's needs are met."
A wide range of ages indeed. Frequently, several people are doing laps in the big pool, and adults or children float about on noodles at one end of the big pool. Meanwhile, seniors can be seen doing exercises or relaxing near the jets in the warm water therapy pool, and of course, little ones are racing around the kiddie pool enjoying the many sprinklers and the small slide. If you're there when school is out, there's a line of kids at the ladders of the diving pool getting ready for their pencil dives or cannonballs.
Terri Hoffman, who uses the weight and cardiovascular exercise rooms, says, "It's a jewel. This place is really special. The trainers have been very helpful." Because each machine has a small TV screen, members can watch their favorite shows. Hoffman said, "I get distracted by the TV and exercise longer. It makes it easier to exercise." Hoffman has a son in college and another son in high school. "Everyone in the family is enjoying the center."
A family-oriented center
"We really love it," says Amanda Hickman, who has gone to C.C. Pools a number of times with her sons Wyatt and Lucas. "It's such a comfortable place to go. It's a beautiful facility." She described the family changing room as "a huge and wonderful thing." Her boys are too old to be going into the women's locker room, and they're too young to go into the men's locker room by themselves. "Also, I'm very impressed with the number of lifeguards on duty. It makes me feel comfortable. While I swim laps, the boys play in the kiddie pool." She commented on how difficult it would be to check on the boys every other stroke.
The Hickman boys love the facility too. Second grader Lucas gives the place the big thumbs up. "It's so cool because there are different kinds of pools. One has three diving boards! There's a pool for everybody!" Wyatt, a kindergartner, says his favorite feature in the kiddie pool is "the dunker," which is a large cone that fills with water and then tips over, dumping its watery cargo on the waiting targets below. Amanda Hickman adds, "They were so smart about what features they put in the kiddie pool!" Children under the age of 12 are allowed in the kiddie pool, with its sprinklers, the dunker, a slide, and a giant mushroom that has water flowing from its cap.
While the kiddie pool is a meeting place for mothers of young children, seniors have not been overlooked. Marilyn Harte finds the center a wonderful place to meet her friends from Carlisle as well as Concord. She and several other senior citizens go to the center to swim laps. After they finish their exercise, they relax and chat in the warm water therapy pool.
"I'm thrilled with the whole swim complex," Jan Kinmonth says enthusiastically. "There's always a place to do laps and there's always a place for the kids to play. For swimming, it's been great!" Her fourth grader Fiona enjoys the whole pool complex. She and a friend can entertain themselves for hours swimming and using the noodles in the big pool, finding all sorts of ways to get through all the sprinklers in the kiddie pool and jumping into the diving well on the low and high diving boards. "Fiona loves the diving boards!"
The Kinmonths see other advantages as well. "The guest policy is very reasonable. Fiona can bring a friend with us and for $5 we get an afternoon of entertainment." The family likes the snack bar as well; it stocks bagels, chips, cookies, power bars, tea and coffee. Kinmonth says, "It's a nice touch. It's small and perfect." Another nice touch is the locker room. "It's really nice. Someone is always cleaning it while I am there, which I appreciate." Having been on a swim team in high school, Jan is pleased that "there's a team locker room. It's nice for them to have a place of their own that's away from the general public. I would have liked that when I was in high school." All these well thought-out details make Jan say, "I'm a very happy member."
Some suggested improvements
One dissent came from a Carlisle resident who has used many health clubs in the U.S. and abroad and spent more than two years on crutches — "I am probably more critical than the average person," she says. She finds that parking on the side of the building and having to walk around to the front door is inconvenient especially for the mobility-impaired. Since there are no automatic door openers, one has to open manually two sets of heavy glass doors, "impossible with walking devices." A spokesperson at the Beede Center said that a door for handicapped access will be added.
The dissenter finds the center's warm water therapy pool "way too small, and there is no deep water which makes it impossible to do any exercise except stretching." She points out that other health clubs in our area have large therapy pools, going from shallow to deep water. She also misses having saunas, steam rooms and Jacuzzis, all "industry standards, but not in Concord." These amenities were not added because of cost and space, as well as maintenance and energy costs over time.
Nonetheless, Tim Atkins, executive director of C.C. Pools, says the complex has exceeded all his expectations. He loves seeing people of all different ages enjoying the complex, particularly in the large, well-lit room with all the pools. He complimented architect Michael Rosenfeld for bringing in so much natural light.
The Concord Recreation Department runs the facility, a non-profit owned by the Town of Concord. According to Aquatics Director Karen Houghton, things are going very well, "It's very busy, which is wonderful." A number of programs are being offered, and swimming and diving lessons are already available. Older children in the Concord Recreation Summer Camp will use the pools this summer. Children's swim teams will start up in the fall. Houghton says, "We are still tweaking the facility, and we are still hiring staff."
The staff is "very happy with the turn-out" for the exercise rooms. Many new members have been getting orientation on the new equipment: "We set them up with a [exercise] program," says Houghton, "and we also have been setting them up with personal trainers, if they want that."
Registration Coordinator Christine Kelleher says membership is going very well. "There are 900 to 1,000 memberships, which is over our targetThe guest policy is very popular. It allows people to see the facility, and some of those guests become new members." Asked when the busiest times are at the center, Kelleher replies, "Weekends are busy. Also, it's very steady in the early hours with individuals who like to work out before they go to work. The same is true at the end of the day. We see an increase when school lets out too." She hasn't noticed any problems of overcrowding.
As Kate Carr, of C.C. Pools looked around the facility, she said, "This is the culmination of 10 years of work [by Tim Atkins]," which isn't quite done. She said roughly $850,000 still needs to be raised to pay off the building and there are still naming opportunities. CCTV on Channel 8 will be showing tours of the facility soon.
© 2006 The Carlisle Mosquito