Goshen News, Goshen, IN

July 23, 2012

Group starts petition to keep GC pool


— GOSHEN — The Goshen College pool is planning to close for good on Sept. 1. But a group of concerned residents is hoping to delay that for as long as possible.

An online petition was started in the beginning of June on the website Change.org for the purpose of gathering signitures in the hopes that enough concerned citizens and alumni from around the world would be enough to convince Goshen College officials to reconsider. As of Friday, there had been 674 signatures thus far.

“We hope to be able to put on hold the destroying of the pool,” said Rachel Paff, who started the petition and uses the pool roughly five times a week as part of an arthritis-therapy class. The class uses the pool because the water temperature is warm enough to keep the joints loose. While there are other pools in Goshen that theoretically could be used (including the middle school and high school), they are not as accessible and the temperatures are not conducive to people who rely on the pool for therapy.

“The middle school keeps the pool temperature in the 70s, but that’s too cold for those of us who need it for health purposes,” said Laverne Nafziger, Goshen, one of about 25 people who are in the same class as Paff.

The pool is available for not just classes, but the general public as well, which is why Paff sees it as such an uptapped resource.

“Prospective college students are more likely to go to a college they are exposed to,” Paff said. “It’s good PR.”

While that may be the case, current college students don’t use it enough to justify keeping it operating. That’s the main concern of Goshen College officials.

Goshen College President Dr. James Brenneman wrote a Letter to the Editor in the July 14 edition of The Goshen News in which he explained that “the pool and its space need a major overhaul and an endowment to maintain its upkeep totaling nearly $4 million.”

“To put our energies and resources there would not be financially responsible,” his letter continued.

Jim Histand, vice president of finances for the college, said that the decision has been made by school officials and has been through the board of directors.

“The decision is not up for revision,” Histand said.

No decision has been made on what will be done with that space. Nonetheless, Paff and others hope that if they can’t stop the pool from being closed altogether, they can at least postpone that increasing inevitability.

“It’s in the best interest of the community and of the college to keep the pool open,” Paff said.