The fate of the Jefferson College swimming pool – which college officials have considered closing for several years – could be decided at the Board of Trustees meeting tonight (May 9).
The meeting will be held at 5 p.m. in the Viking Room in the Student Center on the Hillsboro campus.
Structural problems are plaguing the pool, so college officials plan to close it today due to safety concerns. No activities or classes will be held in the pool over the summer, and it’s unknown whether it will reopen after that, college officials said Monday.
An engineering firm, IMEG in St. Louis, identified a number of problems with the pool, which is housed in the Field House on the Hillsboro campus, said Roger Barrentine, the college’s director of public relations and marketing.
“The Board of Trustees has a decision to make, which is whether to make repairs or make a decision about the pool in a longer-term view,” Barrentine said. “It’s not the administration’s decision.”
Barrentine said that even if the board decides to have the pool repaired, it is unknown how long the pool would be out of operation.
“That will be predicated on the direction the board takes,” he said.
According to the IMEG report, the pool “has pervasive concrete deterioration in the pool deck and pool walls, including cracks, spalling, exposed rebar and prior repairs that are beginning to fail.”
The report goes on to say that the problems are “severe enough to warrant a partial deck replacement and portions of the wall need to be repaired or replaced.”
IMEG will present its findings during the board meeting.
Daryl Gehbauer, the college’s vice president of finance and administration, said Monday the college does not have a cost estimate for the repairs, but at IMEG’s suggestion, has hired a construction cost estimator to provide one.
During the college’s budget discussions in spring 2018, staff members told the board that closing the pool could save the college about $100,000 a year. However, board members said they had promised pool supporters in 2017 to keep it open at least two more years and voted 4-0 in June 2018 to approve the current budget with funding for the pool included.
Whenever discussions about the pool have come up at board meetings over the last several years, a large contingent of pool supporters have attended to plead their case to keep it open. Whenever those large crowds are expected, the board meetings are relocated from the small board room in the Administration Building to the Student Center’s Viking Room.