Despite clear support for keeping the pool open, whether anyone actually gets to “dive in” this summer now depends less on the wishes of local decision-makers than on the course of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Friends of Patagonia Pool (FOPP) has taken some important steps toward ensuring the successful operation of the pool. Working with school personnel and Leslie’s Pool Services, FOPP has formulated several recommendations for bringing the facility up to a high operational level and maintaining it going forward. It has also been aggressively raising funds to supplement the $10,000 allocations the town and both school boards have made annually since 2002.
FOPP has contributions, pledges and grant funds totaling over $18,000 and has its sights set on raising at least twice that amount for the 2020 pool season. FOPP recently elected the following members to serve as officers: President, Karen Riggs; Vice President, Mary Spicer; Secretary, Barbara Kuhn; Treasurer, Dorothy Sturges.
The Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA), recently extended through October 31, 2020 by action of both school boards and the town council, calls for the high school to receive the funds, hire staff and manage the pool. Newly-appointed Superintendent Kenny Hayes confirmed that the school will take on that responsibility this year as required in the IGA. He expressed concern about whether there would be adequate funding to operate the pool and on what schedule lifeguards could be re-certified because state certification activities are suspended due to the pandemic.
A pool advisory committee comprised of representatives from both school boards, the Town of Patagonia and FOPP will provide oversight and guidance to the pool operator. Committee members are Jim Cosbey, Audrey Doles, Andy Wood, Gary Brown and Mimi Henley. The committee’s role as defined in the IGA is to “advise and make recommendations to the swimming pool manager and PUHS administration concerning the use, operation and maintenance of the swimming pool.”
Donations may be made to the pool through the Patagonia/Sonoita Rotary which is serving as the interim fiscal agent for FOPP pending its approval as a nonprofit entity under section 501(c)3 of the IRS code. Donors should note on the check that the donation is for the Patagonia Pool fund. Checks should be made payable to P/S Rotary Club Foundation, Inc. and mailed to Leslie Kramer, P.O. Box 795, Sonoita, AZ 85637. They may also be dropped off at Kramer’s office at 3129 Hwy 83, Suite 1 in Sonoita. If the office is closed there is a drop box located between the two office doors.