By ROD ROWE
THE GOSHEN NEWS
Goshen College officials announced Monday afternoon that the pool and spa at the college’s Roman Gingerich recreation-fitness center will no longer be open as of Sept. 1.
“The swimming pool and spa will be closing permanently on Aug. 31,” according to an e-mail by Josh Keister, director of the fitness center.
Bill Born, vice president of student life, pointed out the pool facility has aged and is fairly expensive to maintain.
“We have considered it for a long time,” he said of the closing.
He said college officials have not decided what will go into the space now used by the pool and spa, but officials will study the options this summer and fall.
“Change comes in many forms,” Born wrote in his e-mail, “including the innovation and creation of new programs and spaces, as well as the assessment and consideration of programs and spaces already in place.”
As one step in achieving more focused goals and outcomes, Goshen college plans to re-purpose the RFC pool and spa space, Born wrote.
Current programs and operations of the pool and spa will remain in place through August, he said. There are about five full-time life guards and several others who work part time. College officials said they would work to find other employment for these student employees.
Born said a swim club was formed this year and has been using the pool. He said he spoke with officials of the club Monday, informing them of the decision. But other than the club and one academic class, the pool has not been used by a large number of students.
But community use is another story.
“There is quite a bit of community use,” Born said, including water aerobics. “Obviously it will be disappointing to them.”
But college officials are thinking about the overall purpose of the space at the recreation center, Born said.
School officials will be “re-purposing” the use that is best for Goshen College, Born said.
“There are a number of factors,” said Richard Aguirre, director of communications at the college. He said the college uses the pool for academic purposes every other year, and there are not other academic uses of the facility.
He added that the cost of maintenance of a community pool has become expensive.
In Born’s message, he said additional projects at the rec center include a new indoor track, new roof over the gymnasium and refinishing of the gym floor.
Dawn Krezel, who has taught aerobics at the GC pool the past eight years, said she believes the closure will take a toll on the community.
“It will have a big effect,” she said after climbing out of the pool Monday afternoon. “This will be missed.”
Krezel said she teaches six classes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, with 30 people in many of the classes. She added that other adults, such as local teachers, use the pool for exercise in evenings.
There are other classes on Tuesday and Thursday mornings, she said. GC athletes also use the pool and spa for therapy, she explained.
“It has been fun for everybody,” Krezel said. “I am going to miss this.”