You can show your support for the renovations of McDowell High School and MIHS at a public meeting at the McDowell High School Auditorium, Wednesday, April 18 at 6:00 p.m.
We hope that any renovation plan include improvements to the aquatic facilities to meet the needs of swimming and water polo and recreation and lessons into the middle of this century. As crowded and over-used as our facility is now, imagine how this will only degrade in the next 10 to 20 years. Whatever renovations and rebuilding of McDowell/MIHS is done now, it will be the last such renovation for a couple decades. Will our 6 lane, 25 yard pool be sufficient to meet the needs of our community in 2020? In 2030? Of course not. It doesn’t meet our needs now.
When the pool was built in 1973, the swim team was just beginning. In the 40 years since, we have added boy’s water polo, girls water polo (both in the same season), the Millcreek Swim Team, adult water exercise, and other programs. A larger pool or an additional diving well would allow boys and girls water polo to practice in all deep water at the same time. The divers could practice at the same time as the swimmers, instead of going home after school and returning later to practice until 9:00 p.m. This would allow more time for MIST swimmers and Millcreek Recreation activities.
It has always been the long term wish of the swim coaching staff to add a diving well to the south of the pool and extend the bleachers and deck area with it. One of the published plans for additions to MIHS show classrooms in this area envisioned for the diving well. This would forever prevent a contiguous, adjoining diving well from ever being added to our facility. Perhaps the diving well could be added adjacent to the pool and classrooms could be added to the north of the diving well. A diving well was the original plans for the MIHS Natatorium, but it was changed to a small pool for community lessons. This was the first case of the facility’s inability to accommodate all users. Of course, in 1973, no one could have envisioned how much Millcreek aquatics programs would have grown.
Now, some high school freshman, average height 5’9”, are taught swimming in a pool with depths from 30” to 42”.
We live by one of the largest fresh water lakes in the world. Drowning is the sixth leading cause of unintentional injury death for people of all ages and the second leading cause of death for children ages 1-14.
Many people in the community will be against any new construction because they will not understand the utility of it. If we as aquatic enthusiasts, who see the value of swimming and water polo, not just for college scholarships and awards, but for lifelong health and safety, want to see our Aquatic Facility (the only public indoor facility our township of over 53,000 has) advance into the 21st century, we have to make our wishes known.