Friday, January 19, 2007
Beede Swim and Fitness Center serves all, babies to seniors
The Beede Community Swim & Fitness Center, across the driveway from the Concord-Carlisle High School, has been open for about nine months. It is a social place, bringing the Concord and Carlisle communities together, with over 5,300 members ranging in age from babies to senior citizens; 687, about 13%, are from Carlisle. According to Fitness Director Jan MacCulloch, "It's exciting to be here." New memberships continue to come in weekly.
The bulk of the membership falls in two age brackets. There are 300 Carlisleans who are under 20 years old and there are 270 in the age-range of 40 to 60. Over 570 members are senior citizens; 50 are from Carlisle. They get a 25% discount. If they are over 80, the annual fee is waived. So far, the Beede Center has 86 participants in that age group, one from Carlisle.
"We were pleased with the opening. There have been a few construction and mechanical issues that have been addressed [since opening day]," according to Assistant Recreation Director Pam Higgins. "We have tried to make these [adjustments] seamless to members."
The Beede Center provides not only a lap pool, a diving pool, a therapy pool and a kiddie pool, but also specialty classes and opportunities. For instance, there is a "YoQua" class that moves the yoga class into the water. The water's buoyancy adds support allowing for greater stretches and toning. An "Ai Chi" class was created so people could have an efficient exercise program that increases oxygen and caloric consumption in the water. Ai Chi integrates mental, physical and spiritual energy. There are shallow water workouts and deep water calorie-burning programs. An Arthritis Foundation Aquatics Class is taught in the heated therapy pool by an instructor certified by the Arthritis Foundation. Those in this exercise program should have reduced pain and stiffness, more flexible joints and stronger muscles.
Besides water fitness, the pools provide a place for white-water kayak training. Students learn to maneuver around gates and roll their boats. This class is starting in March.
The Concord Fire Department Water Rescue Group trains in the diving well.
Concord Recreation offers pool time once a week as part of their after-school program. Of course, the programs that have the most participants using the pools are the swimming lessons and swim teams. Over 150 children participated in lessons this fall. There are 50 members in the Concord Recreation Department swim teams, which range in age from six to fourteen, and there are 50 divers from ages seven to seventeen.
CCHS swimmers have a home
The CCHS swim and dive teams, with 45 swimmers and 11 divers, now have a home. For years, these teams have been bused out to Minuteman Regional Vocational High School and the Atkinson Pool at the Fairbank Community Center in Sudbury for their practices and meets. CCHS Swim Coach Matt Goldberg says, "The Beede Center is a beautiful facility, and we are lucky to have it right on campus and have the use of it. We now have two hours of pool time, instead of one and a half. We've had more spectators come to meets than ever before. Our situation has improved 100%." Practice times used to be roughly 5 to 8 p.m. including commuting time, keeping the teens from eating dinner with their families usually five nights a week. Now these students can trot across the driveway to the Beede Center for practice right after school and can be home for dinner.
This could be seen as an inconvenience between 2:30 and 4:30 p.m. for some non-team swimmers who are relegated to two lanes during CCHS practices. The Beede Center will be closed three Friday nights in January to accommodate CCHS Swim and Dive Meets. Aquatic Director Karen Houghton said she had received no complaints about this.
The high school also now offers water classes as part of the gym choices. Life Guard Training will be offered this spring.
The pool cost $10.5 million to build. There is still a $400,000 loan that must be paid off before the facility will be turned over to the Town of Concord. More than 1,200 donors contributed to bring the outstanding debt down to its current level. No money from the membership fee is used to pay down this debt. The membership fees are only used to cover operational costs and staff of the center.
Currently, there is a $100,000 Challenge going on, where each donation is matched up to that limit. In addition to the challenge, four prizes are being raffled off on January 28. The grand prize is a Toyota Prius. Other prizes include a Segway, a BMW Cruise Bike and a giant OCR road bike. Raffle tickets are $100 each. All proceeds go to paying off this debt.
When asked if there were any really busy times, Houghton replied, "Seven to 11 a.m. Thanksgiving morning. I think the whole world came!" The pool was only open a short time on that day.
For more information on the center and the programs it offers, call 1-978-287-1000. The format of the web site is changing and may not be up-to-date.
© 2007 The Carlisle Mosquito