At the Patagonia High School and Elementary School Board meetings a non-action item discussing the future of the swimming pool was on the agenda. Rachel Hochheim, School Superintendant (currently on maternity leave) wrote a letter recommending closing the pool to school boards and Patagonia Town Council because the “overall cost of the long term maintenance and operation of the pool is beyond what I believe is appropriate use of school funds.”
During the call to public Clare Bonelli, Jan Herron and Gary Brown commented in support of keeping the pool open with the support of the community. Bonelli said she knows that the pool may not be the best place for educational dollars but the community is willing to take on the challenge. Herron, also a member of the Library board, said that if the pool closes that it will be an issue for the library during the summer time. She asked for more time to organize the community, to find out what needs to be done to keep it open, and for more time before the board makes a decision.
The high school board members present, Ron Pitt, Paula Schafer and Beau Simpson all concurred that the pool is an important community asset and want to find a way to keep it open. Input from the elementary school board was similar, with Nancy McCoy asking what steps the board needs to take to move towards a solution. Cynthia Matus-Moriss said that the school is trying to investigate the agreement made with the Town to see the terms of the original grant money that funded the pool. Aisha Sander said that a recreational place is educational and to find a way to make the pool viable year round, rather than just in the summer time.
The High School board asked to put recommendations for the pool as an action item on a future agenda and requested the community members present to share and gather input from the community in the meantime. The business manager, Angelica Lucero, said that right now they are in the red for pool maintenance and must make a decision soon on how to finance the pool.
The town council will have the pool as an agenda item on its Nov 26th meeting at 7 p.m. (on a Tuesday because of Thanksgiving).