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I was privileged to attend Gainesville College as a nontraditional student in 2001-2002, obtaining an associate's degree in art. I found it to be a first-rate college with first-rate teachers.
Before I could graduate, however, I found that I had to take a physical education course. I remember thinking: I'm in my 50s! Why should I have to do this now?
I took the class under James Howard, and the upshot was that I joined the Lakers Society, which allows community members fitness center privileges. The yearly fee Lakers pay goes to the Gainesville State College Foundation to fund student scholarships.
I have been swimming and working out at the fitness center ever since I graduated from Gainesville College, as it was called then. As a 58-year-old woman with scoliosis and high blood pressure, the GSC Fitness Center is one of the best things that has ever happened to me, especially the wonderful pool. I do not like to run, because it hurts my back (and I overheat easily.) Instead, I do 45 minutes of laps in the pool, hit the sauna for 10 minutes of stretching and warming up, and then work out with weights. I feel like a new person when I get home in the evening.
I think all of the budget cuts in education are a travesty that will send the state of Georgia reeling backward in quality of life. The cuts may be a band-aid in the short run, but will end up costing much in the long run in too many ways to mention here.
As a Laker, I would definitely be willing to pay more in fees, and I know other Lakers feel the same way. I heard that in the recent budget meeting at GSC someone called the pool a "cancer," presumably because of the cost to run it. I totally disagree with this.
Physical fitness is a vital part of our well-being, and Gainesville State College has played a major role in promoting this in our community through the Lakers program, swimming lessons and water aerobics, as well as offering swimming courses at the college.
Also, there are no other pools in this area where one can swim laps. I work every day, and do not have time to go to the YMCA, Brenau University or Frances Meadows Center.
In short, I love the Gainesville State College pool and sincerely hope that all other options will be seriously considered before closing it for good because I believe there are other and better options.