The June 24 issue of The Baytown Sun reported the Lee College Board of Regents approved a list of needs for an $11 million revenue bond. In the article most of the article focused on discussion regarding the repairs of the swimming pool. Most of the discussion was regarding the replacement of a Dectron unit, which controls heating and humidity of the pool. However, this was not the first discussion regarding the swimming pool. The week prior, the Regents of the Building Committee listened to a detailed ·report from a Swimming Pool Task Force. This committee was charged with the purpose of the developing a strategic plan resulting in the full utilization of the swimming pool by employees, students, the community, business and industry. The 14-member committee was comprised of Lee College departments and community members.
The information presented to the Board of Regents reflected diligent research by the Swimming Pool Task Force Committee. The committee reviewed several sources of data to consider both grant and revenue programs for the pool. To gather relevant data, other pool facilities were visited, and information was collected on their operations and membership fees. The committee determined the programs Lee College currently offers and propose to offer are not in competition with the pools visited. The Lee College swimming pool is unique due to the fact the pool has a depth of 12 feet.
The committee reviewed three years of the revenue and expenses for the pool. Revenue items included swimming courses, water aerobics courses, Community Education open swimmers and the City of Baytown memberships. Although the losses for the pool each of those years was approximately $4,000, a projected budget for increasing revenue was presented to offset expenses of the operating costs of the pool. It is worth mentioning, lee College offers the only adult swimming classes in Baytown. Additionally, water aerobics courses are routinely at enrollment capacity with many citizens participating for personal enrichment or physical rehabilitation.
Further information presented included uses of the Lee College pool that had a value but were not revenue streams. Activities conducted in the pool included training for the Harris County Sherriff’s Marine Unit, lifeguard training for the Pirate’s Bay Water Park, a YMCA Water Safety Program, the Baytown Christian Academy Physics Boat Project, the Lee College Robotics Club Competition, and the training and rehabilitation for Lee College athletes.
The Swimming Pool Task Force presented future initiatives for the college to consider. For example, in the
Baytown area, little to no instruction exists for preschool children, individuals with special needs or for adults. Lee College can offer programs for these groups. Lee College should collaborate with the Red Cross and become a Water Safety Instructor site. Lee College should collaborate with the YMCA, the City of Baytown and local industry for various programs of training and recreational use. Lee College is a community college and the college should provide programs for people of all ages for a multitude of needs. Lee College should provide training and recreational opportunities to local businesses and industry. The Lee College pool is a valuable asset to the college and the community.
The Board of Regents Building Committee had lengthy discussions regarding of the use and potential use of the swimming but no vote was conducted. At the June 14 meeting of the Board of Regents, discussion regarding the pool did occur and it was hated the college is continuing to paying off a 2003 Revenue Bond, which included the replacement of the Dectron unit for the swimming pool. The payoff of this bond will be in 2020. After discussion, a vote to include the swimming pool in the list of needs for a Revenue Bond was unanimous with the stipulation to investigate possible less costly alternatives to replacement of the Dectron unit.
The members of the Swimming Pool Task Force sincerely appreciate the support of the Board of Regents to include the swimming pool repairs in a revenue bond for the college. And as Paul Harvey would say, “Now you have the rest of the story.”