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Last Saturday, I learned that Gainesville State College pool will be closing in June. I was told that an emergency meeting was called on Friday afternoon, for all faculty members, to decide on how best to trim $3.3 million from the college's spending. It was decided that the pool would be closed to help trim the budget.
It seems that it costs the college about $200,000 per year to maintain and operate the pool. Students pay for the pool's use as part of their tuition and Gainesville Foundation supporters, for a donation of $250 per year, gain access to the pool and fitness center.
Swimming is one of the best forms of exercise for all ages, especially those whose joints cannot withstand the pounding of running or other forms of exercise. It also is one of the best forms of exercise for the heart and lungs and improves the health of all who participate in it. Gainesville College offers water aerobics for all ages and swim lessons for young children. The decision to close the pool is going to have a negative effect on the quality of life in Hall County. Is there not another solution?
If the college decides that it just cannot afford the maintenance of the pool, could the county not step in and do something? Could it not be open to swim events much like Allen Creek Soccer Complex holds tournaments and other soccer events that could help generate revenue put toward maintenance costs?
We are all aware of how hard everyone is being hurt by the economy, but let's not close a facility that many Hall County residents and college students use. It would be a huge mistake and one that all will regret.
As I was watching the news on television tonight, there was a story about how the Winter Olympics has inspired more people to exercise more often. It cited the benefits of exercise that contributes to good mental and physical health and puts adults and children on the path to a good, healthy lifestyle.
There are many forms of exercise, and just as the Olympics offers a variety of sports to excel in, a community needs to provide its citizens with a variety of sports facilities at which everyone can pursue the activity that is the best fit for them.
Gainesville State College may be an institution that provides higher education for students from all across the state, but it is also a part of the Hall County community, and in that respect owes something back to the community.
Claire and Mark Dunn