Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

November 2, 2012

Pool repairs running behind schedule

TAHLEQUAH — The swimming pool at the Northeastern State University Fitness Center has been closed for renovation since Sept. 17, and according to university officials, there are no plans to reopen the facility anytime soon.

According to Todd Enlow, who in September was named NSU director of Auxiliary Services, the university has had a plan in place since last spring to renovate the aging facility. But a complaint filed with the Cherokee County Health Department by a local swimmer prompted closure of the pool sooner than predicted.

Enlow indicated pool patrons have been denied access throughout early planning stages between the university and GH2 Architects.

The move affected NSU students, Continuing Education water aerobics participants, the Tahlequah Boys & Girls Club USA Swimming Team Stingrays, community members who use the pool for health purposes, and those who swim for recreation.

Stingrays Coach Bob Bradshaw made arrangements through the Fort Gibson School District to use the facility there for a brief period, but is now searching for new options.

“We’ve used all our time allotted at Fort Gibson,” said Bradshaw. “Now, their swim teams need the space. We’ve contacted [a facility] in Muskogee that will give us one hour a week, on Saturdays, at $50 per hour. We’re also planning on talking to a couple of local hotel owners that have pools to see if we can use their pools for stroke and turn work.”

The Stingrays have a swim meet this weekend, as well as a meet in Bartlesville later this month. Bradshaw said he’s doing his level best to keep his team in shape.

“We go to the NSU Fitness Center for weight work and use their track for stamina,” said Bradshaw. “We’re just doing whatever we can to keep the team in shape.”

Bradshaw said that while Maryetta School has an indoor pool, cost and water temperature preclude it from being an option for the Stingrays.

“It’s expensive, and they keep the water temperature anywhere from 92-98 degrees; the water is way too hot. Our kids run out of breath and it makes them sick. We’re just going to go with what we can go with, and hopefully, the pool will open again soon.”

About a week before the pool closed in September, NSU officials had said the replacement of the pool deck would require closure of the pool for four to eight weeks, and that they hoped to reopen it for a time before it was shuttered again for an overhaul of the entire Fitness Center.

Both Bradshaw and Enlow indicated some proposals for the pool include a zero-entry ramp, as opposed to steps, to aid people with disabilities. NSU is also considering making a separate outside entry for the pool, so that when the other side of the facility undergoes renovation, the pool can remain open.

What isn’t clear is when the pool will be functional again.

“The challenge is – well, ideally, we would have liked to have had the pool open longer during the programming phase of the renovation,” said Enlow. “We haven’t had a good opportunity to get feedback to meet the needs of our customers – including students, water aerobics students, those who use it for general exercise, lap swimmers and the swim team.”

Enlow said that to date, the compromised pool deck has been torn out, new metal decking has been poured, and the drains are in place.

“We’re waiting on the rebar to pour the actual deck, then we’ll have to tear out the carpet and get the rest prepped,” said Enlow. “Other things we have to do include painting the entire surface and the estimate for that is $15,000 to $20,000.”

Enlow said he doesn’t have a good answer for a projected opening date.

“We are looking at all the alternatives to get it open sooner rather than later, and we’re also looking at opening it separately [from the other part of the Fitness Center],” he said.

When news of the pool closure first came to light, Enlow said the university entertained the idea of providing shuttle service to its displaced swimmers to the facility in either Fort Gibson or Muskogee.

“We looked at that as an option, but didn’t explore it much more,” said Enlow. “When we talked, we were looking at Fort Gibson, Muskogee and Maryetta as alternatives. Most of the people we had talked to [had made alternative arrangements already]. The swim team had Fort Gibson, and water aerobics has found an alternative. The other [patrons] didn’t really bite when we were talking about shuttle service.”

In recent weeks, three lap swimmers and another pool patron told the Press they had called various NSU offices to inquire about progress on the pool and the possibility of a shuttle service. They said their calls weren’t returned.

Enlow said he has talked to one of the local hotel owners about renting a pool for a per-head charge.

“He was agreeable to it, but the pricing he offered was higher than what we felt we could pass along,” said Enlow. “We have provided that information to the Continuing Education Department for their water aerobics participants, but we don’t know that the pool would be suitable for lap swimmers.”

Enlow said renovations are running slightly behind schedule, mostly due to material supply and demand.

“We hoped we’d be able to pour concrete last week, but we’re having to wait on the rebar,” said Enlow. “Also, the hurricane, with all of its devastation, could potentially slow down and impact some of our construction work.”

Text Only
Local News
  • plane-crash-1-a.jpg Plane crash victims recovering

    Two Arkansas men remained in a Tulsa hospital Monday after the plane they were flying crashed into a wooded area in Cookson.
    According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the 1946 Ercoupe 415 crashed under “unknown circumstances” about a mile from the Tenkiller Air Park in Cookson Saturday morning.
    The Oklahoma Highway Patrol says 75-year-old John McCreary and 85-year-old Albert Demarco Jr., both of Ozark, Ark., were flown from Cookson to St. John Medical Center in Tulsa.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • walker-terrance.jpg Man taken for blood sample confuses hospital with hotel

    Tahlequah police say an Austin, Texas, man stopped Saturday mistook a local hospital for a hotel when he was taken to have his blood drawn.
    Officer Cory Keele’s affidavit says 20-year-old Terrance Walker was driving south on Muskogee Avenue at about 2 a.m. Saturday, swerving from one line to another.
    Keele tried to stop the car near Muskogee and Chickasaw, and Walker eventually slowed to a stop near South Street.
    Walker opened the car door as Keele approached. The officer said Walker had dilated pupils.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • ennis-scottie.jpg Knife-cutting incident lands man in jail

    A Tahlequah man jailed for allegedly cutting a woman with a kitchen knife was released on a recognizance bond Monday.
    Scottie Lee Ennis, 42, was arrested after Officer Austin Yates was sent to Tahlequah City Hospital late Friday night.
    There, Yates spoke with Jennifer Pennell, who had apparently suffered a stab wound to her arm.
    Pennell told Yates she and her husband, Ennis, had gone to Dewain’s Place earlier in the evening, and while at the bar, a man bought her a drink.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • hawley-jeremy.jpg Tahlequah man bonds out after arrest for assault

    A 22-year-old Tahlequah man bonded out of jail Monday after his weekend arrest on domestic assault charges.
    Jeremy Hawley was booked into jail Sunday for domestic assault and battery in the presence of a minor and interfering with a 911 call.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cherokee Nation law eases restrictions in gaming facilities

    The Cherokee Nation Tribal Council on Monday night voted to reduce regulations in its gaming facilities, but to conform to National Indian Gaming Commission minimum internal control standards.
    The measure ultimately passed 9-7, with District 1 Councilor Joe Byrd abstaining.
    Before discussion, Councilor Lee Keener moved to table the item, saying neither he nor members of the gaming commission had sufficient time to review the act. Councilor Cara Cowan-Watts seconded the motion, with a friendly amendment.

    April 15, 2014

  • Boy again caught with stolen items

    Cherokee County sheriff’s deputies say a juvenile caught with stolen property several times in the past was recently discovered to have more missing items.
    Deputies took a report over the weekend from a man who said his garage was burglarized while he was away from his home for an extended time. A number of items were taken, including an air compressor, leaf grinder, leaf blower, extension cords, drill-bit kit, a cordless drill, antique tools, a pressure washer, a machete, an aluminum ladder and a butane lighter torch.

    April 15, 2014

  • hughes-james.jpg Muskogee man caught with drugs at casino

    Cherokee Nation marshals arrested a Muskogee man Sunday after he was allegedly caught with drugs at the Cherokee Casino.
    Deputy marshals were called when security at the casino noticed a man drop a bag of a white, crystal-like substance.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Tahlequah man charged with hitting vehicle, fleeing

    Prosecutors have formally charged a Tahlequah man accused of hitting another vehicle in downtown Tahlequah and leaving the scene.

    April 15, 2014

  • sp-symposium-Child.jpg Child discusses survival of Native communities

    When Dr. Brenda Child, Ojibwe/Red Lake, tells people she is from the reservation at Red Lake, Minn., she explains, “We’re the ones who didn’t lose our lands.”
    Her tribe’s story is unusual among Native Americans, many of whom have been displaced throughout history. But history is complicated, she said. That’s why, as a historian, she is interested in “the small stor[ies].”
    “I’m someone who can’t really get a grasp of the big picture ... unless I look at the individual stories of people on the ground. How were they living? What shaped their lives?” she asked.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • ts-Symposium-Leeds.jpg Developing food security, sovereignty

    When the Cherokees rebuilt their nation 150 years ago following the Trail of Tears, they immediately went to work re-establishing a government, along with higher education and court systems.
    Stacy Leeds, Cherokee citizen and dean of the College of Law at the University of Arkansas, said that while history reveres the Cherokee judges, scholars and lawmakers of the time, most Cherokee citizens were farmers.
    Leeds gave a presentation Friday about tribal governance, land use, food and agriculture police and economic development during the 42nd annual Symposium of the American Indian at Northeastern State University. The luncheon was hosted by the NSU Chapter of American Indian Students in Science and Engineering, and Leeds offered the AISES students food for thought about where their careers could be going.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo


What to you think of a state Legislature proposal to forbid cities from raising the minimum wage? Choose the closest to your opinion.

The federal government should set the minimum wage across the board.
States should be allowed to raise their minimum wages, but not cities.
Both states and cities should be allowed to raise their minimum wages.
Cities should be allowed to raise their mimum wages, but not states.
There should be no minimum wage at all.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge US Supports Ukraine's Efforts to Calm Tensions Suspect in Kansas Shootings Faces Murder Charges Ukraine: Military Recaptures Eastern Airport Raw: Storm Topples RVs Near Miss. Gulf Coast NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse Pistorius Cries During Final Cross-Examination The Boston Marathon Bombing: One Year Later Michael Phelps Set to Come Out of Retirement First Women Move to Army Platoon Artillery Jobs Sex Offenders Charged in Serial Killings Police: Woman Stored Dead Babies in Garage OC Serial Murder Suspects May Have More Victims Family: 2 Shot in Head at Kan. Jewish Center Raw: Horse Jumping Inspires 'Bunny Hop' After Attack, Officials Kill 5 Bears in Florida Popular Science Honors Year's Top Inventions ND Oil Boom Attracting Drug Traffickers