Tahlequah Daily Press

September 14, 2012

Pool not maintained


TAHLEQUAH — Editor, Daily Press:

The NSU pool is not safe to swim in. It should have been closed the day the state health inspector tested it.

The pool has many code violations that have been ignored for years. The most serious violation has been a failure to enforce the “shower first” rule. Second is the carpet. Indoor carpet is prohibited by state code. It collects organic waste, mainly from dirty shoes.

The violations create chloramines, which are heavier than air. These gases hover over the water below the deckline. Installing those plywood shafts over the deck return vents was a big mistake. The purpose was to draw hot air from the ceiling. But that cut off, pulling the chloramines from the pool surface where swimmers breathe.

Of course, you do not believe me. So all I ask is that you check this out by going online to CDC/healthy swimming/chlorine health problems. This will bring up many reputable aquatic websites. Or you can ask to see the 50-plus pages that I gave [NSU President Steve] Turner and Mark Robertson. If you pull up the state statutes, Title 63 320-310, you can read about all the other violations that are endangering your health and safety.

NSU is in the business of educating students at affordable costs. It doesn’t need to fund aquatics for the general public. NSU should not repair the pool. Gut it and make the space into a gym that is so badly needed by the students.

There are not hundreds of patrons using the pool. The staff has never favorably encouraged the full range of programs that other colleges offer. Why is there not a morning and noon lap swim? Why not water polo, evening high-intensity water aerobics or scuba classes?

Water aerobics belongs in a warm, shallow pool with swim lessons, rehab and slow dog-paddlers. The Cherokee Nation is an excellent choice. Last year, I provided excellent blueprints to [NSU Auxiliary Director and former Cherokee Nation official] Todd Enlow and the Continuing Education people. Hundreds of patrons would use it, but nobody here wants to get off of their butts and start building it. It’s better to whine and blame someone else.

The swim team belongs with Tahlequah Public Schools, perhaps in a partnership with the city. Let them build a proper facility that could include lap swim when the swim team was not in the pool. The swim team’s time to use the whole pool should be six days a week, in the early morning in the late afternoon, without maintenance breakdowns or students breaks, if they want to be truly successful.

As for the lap swimmers, there less than 15 regulars now. There were more, but poor scheduling of swim times, numerous maintenance breakdowns, and rowdy, undisciplined behavior by others in the pool, drove many serious swimmers away.

I tried for years to get a morning and noon lap swim started. I even went back to renewing my life-saving certification so I could volunteer to guard the pool. Not one lap swimmer joined me in the effort; they just wanted to complain.

Every time something broke, for no valid reason, not one lap swimmer joined me in protesting the sloppy maintenance. Not one lap swimmer ever helped me try to improve anything in the pool.

Andy Jorgensen


Editor’s note: Mr. Jorgensen, before he stopped swimming, was at the pool for 20-30 minutes per day, beginning at the opening. His information about the number of patrons using the NSU pool, both regularly and occasionally, is disputed by several people, both NSU staff and those who use the pool.