Ted Waddell | Democrat
THE FRAME FOR the pool at Sullivan County Community College takes shape near the Lazarus Levine dormitory at the Loch Sheldrake campus. College President Mamie Howard-Golladay expects the pool to be ready by June, and is seeking funding to put a roof over it for year-round use. It will make use of solar panels to heat the water.
SCCC's new pool
to open in June
By Ted Waddell
LOCH SHELDRAKE While some folks in the county think Sullivan County Community College’s new $370,000 outdoor swimming pool is all wet, the college president thinks it’s just the ticket to attract new students and offer summertime recreational and educational opportunities close to home, both for students and people in the community.
A master facilities capital improvement plan for the local two-year college was approved in 1995, and when Dr. Mamie Howard-Golladay came on board as president in 1998, she “repacked the plan into phases.”
Phase I has been completed, and the 20x45-foot pool ranging in depth from three to five feet was included in the second phase, along with a new fire alarm system, upgraded doors and windows, a greenhouse, a gas demonstration kitchen in the culinary department, and improved interior/exterior signage.
Construction of the outdoor pool, started a few weeks ago, and according to college officials is expected to be completed early this summer.
One critic has been Grahamsville resident Ken Walter, who called it a “wading pool” in a letter to the editor printed by the Sullivan County Democrat in June 2008, and in an e-mail sent to county legislators and area media on March 28, 2009.
Walter charged that “this expenditure of $370,000 represents fiscal irresponsibility in these economic times” and called into question why Sullivan wasn’t spending the money on fixing up the infrastructure, in particular some walkways he referred to as “neglected to the point where they don’t exist or are in poor condition.”
On January 26, 2006 the Sullivan County Legislature’s financial committee adopted a resolution to endorse Phase II of the college’s current facilities master plan, including construction of the swimming pool.
The county sponsors the local community college, and has agreed to provide 50 percent of the $2.8 million funding for Phase II of the project, while NYS provides the other half.
“It took a while for the county’s funding to match the state,” said Dr. Golladay.
According to Sullivan’s president, the college wanted to construct an Olympic-size swimming pool, but it was deemed cost prohibitive, so the project was scaled back to create a recreational-size pool that Golladay said will be used by students and faculty, and opened up to community groups, on a fee basis to be determined.
The college charges community-based groups and other entities a fee to rent Paul Gerry Fieldhouse and Seelig Theatre.
Asked why the college didn’t pursue an agreement with the Fallsburg Central School District (the only public school in the county with an indoor pool), Dr. Golladay cited perceived problems with scheduling and transportation.
On the issue of much-needed repairs to the college’s sidewalks, she said a federal grant was recently received by SCCC to the tune of $946,000.
“The capital money was approved for specific projects,” said Dr. Golladay of the Phase II funding.
“If we don’t use that money, it sits there at the state, and SUNY could reallocate it to another college,” explaining an example of “use it or lose it” fiscal management.
Sullivan plans to use the new pool for physical education and water safety instruction, and as a draw for enrollment and use during the college’s summer baseball and basketball camps.
Plans call for the installation of solar panels to heat the water, and Dr. Golladay said the college is looking “for funding to install a roof so it can be used year-round.”
Sullivan’s president said a certified lifeguard would be on duty at the new swimming pool at all times, either for college programs or special community events (lifeguards to be provided by the event sponsors or the costs of providing safety monitors charged to the organization).
“We’re a community college, and we respond to the needs of our community,” said Dr. Golladay. “I am convinced we need a pool [and] we expect it to be finished in June if everything goes well.”
“When a lot of students and people in the community come to the college, the first thing they ask is ‘Where’s the pool?’”