Tahlequah Daily Press

Local News

January 21, 2013

Officials: NSU pool to remain closed

TAHLEQUAH — Officials at Northeastern State University on Friday announced the pool at the university’s Fitness Center will remain closed until August 2014, when renovation of the entire facility is expected to be complete.

The news angered and disappointed Tahlequah Boys & Girls Club USA Swim Team Coach Bob Bradshaw, who feels NSU is neglecting the needs of the community.

“To be honest, I don’t think neither the city nor NSU understands the effect [this announcement has] on the team,” said Bradshaw. “This is a year-round program, and we have committed kids.”

After the pool closed in September, NSU officials indicated they might reopen it with a separate entrance while the rest of the facility was being renovated. But on Friday, university administrators confirmed that after lengthy deliberation with the Division of Operations and the project architect, they decided to keep the pool closed.

“The university is concerned about the uncertainty of the water quality, safety of patrons, additional costs and numerous issues involved with bringing students and patrons into a construction zone,” said Tim Foutch, NSU vice president for operations.

The pool closed after a state inspection indicated that eventually, the pool surface needed to be repainted and the deck repaired. Lifeguard stations, 911 access and Americans with Disabilities Act compliance were also declared inadequate, according to university officials.

NSU officials said they had planned to delay addressing those issues until the overall remodeling project began in 2013, but a patron complaint to the state health department spurred them to act immediately.

Bradshaw said he has yet to secure a commitment from NSU that his team will be allowed to practice in the facility when it reopens, and tht’s what bothers him the most.

“It aggravates me that NSU, especially after this tax thing, is not willing to consider the needs of the community over the desires of NSU. They’re just focusing on that other [multipurpose] facility, and have put the Fitness Center on the back burner. They’re just ignoring this youth program. I can’t even get a return phone call from NSU.”

Bradshaw was referring to the city sales tax measure passed Jan. 8 by Tahlequah voters for infrastructure improvements. NSU will receive $1.5 million from that package to expand the mulitpurpose center, which is currently under construction.

Bradshaw believes the pool could be reopened for the sole use of the swim team, as NSU faces no possible liability for the youngsters’ health or well-being.

“All of our kids are totally insured at $1 million per child, and all of our coaches have had extensive training as lifeguards, in CPR and first aid; otherwise, we would not have received the USA Swim Team designation,” said Bradshaw. “There is no  liability at all on the part of NSU.”

Since the pool closed, the team has been practicing at various other sites, most recently at Maryetta School near Stilwell.

Parents are responsible for providing transportation two days per week to the practice sessions, and the team’s membership has dropped from 44 to 19.

“But our kids are committed,” said Bradshaw. “They’re competing against swimmers who are practicing two to three hours a day, five days a week. At our last meet, we had a bunch of kids place in every event in which they entered. Sydney Taylor broke the state record in the 50-meter backstroke, and was off by [hundredths of a second] in setting two other state records. We have kids who could swim on other teams, but are coming from Fort Gibson and Muskogee to be part of our team.”

Bradshaw said the team has also raised funds to provide lane ropes and starting blocks at the NSU pool, and has hosted fundraisers to bring in experts like Mark Spitz to help the team.

“All of the lane ropes, which cost $500 each, were purchased by our team through fundraisers,” said Bradshaw. “The two starting blocks, which cost $1,000 each, were also purchased through fundraisers. Our kids raised $7,000 in two weeks to get Mark Spitz to come here. Boys & Girls Club pitched in the other $5,000. The community didn’t pay for one dime of it.”

Bradshaw, who volunteer s his time for B&GC, said he will continue to fight to keep the team alive.

“I’m dedicated to making this program work for the kids,” he said. “They show up, they put in the work, and I’m going to work for them.”

The $5 million renovation-expansion of the Fitness Center will require the relocation of fitness center equipment, intramural programs and classes during the construction.

More information about temporary facilities and renovation and expansion timetables should be announced by mid-March, according to university officials.

Jerry Cook, interim executive director of university relations, said NSU is committed to providing safe and modern facilities for students and community patrons.

“We regret the major interruptions in service these upgrades and renovations create,” said Cook. “[But] when the pool and Fitness Center re-open, we anticipate everyone will appreciate the significant investment NSU is making at our Tahlequah campus.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • SR-WalkaMile1.jpg Walk a Mile 2014

    Men squeezed into feminine footwear Saturday by the hundreds to walk in solidarity with women on the issue of sexual violence – and their clop-clop-clopping echoed down Muskogee Avenue.
    The fourth annual “Walk a Mile In Her Shoes” brought men to Norris Park, accompanied by their enthusiastic female supporters, to walk – and often wobble – in high heels over a mile-long course to raise funds for Help-In-Crisis.
    “It hurts every year,” said John Christie, a Sequoyah High School student participating in his third Walk a Mile. “I get home, sit down, blisters come up and the calves hurt. But it is worth it. It’s for a good cause.”

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • adams-christopher.jpg Michigan man gets 13 years on plea to rape, sodomy of girl

    A 28-year-old Michigan man will spend about 13 years in an Oklahoma state prison after pleading guilty to four counts of first-degree rape and one count of sodomy involving a 13-year-old girl.
    Christopher Dale Adams, of Lake Orion, Mich., received a 13-year prison sentence for each of the five charges, to be followed by seven years suspended. All sentences will run concurrently.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • logan-amy.jpg Police take down pair on pot distribution charge

    Tahlequah police officers arrested a pair Sunday night for allegedly possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute it.
    Tahlequah Officer Cody Warren said police were asked to investigate when 35-year-old Amy N. Logan, of Tahlequah, allegedly took a family member’s car without permission.
    While Warren was speaking with the owners of the vehicle, Logan arrived along with 26-year-old Theoplilus James Mollie, of Tulsa.

    April 22, 2014 2 Photos

  • land-lisa.jpg Two nailed with meth, pot hidden in bag of chips

    Two people were arrested early Monday morning when Tahlequah police stopped a vehicle near Basin Avenue and found methamphetamine and marijuana hidden in a bag of chips.
    Tahlequah Officer Cory Keele said he noticed a Nissan heading north on Park Hill Road, and the vehicle later stopped in an intersection.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • gawf-johnny.jpg Nylon case doesn’t fool deputy; drug charges to be filed

    A Tahlequah man is jailed at the Cherokee County Detention Center after being arrested on drug possession charges.
    Deputy Michael Cates stopped Johnny Lee Gawf, 25, near Stick Ross Mountain Road and U.S. Highway 62. Gawf did not have his driver’s license and had a no-bond warrant for failure to pay.
    When Gawf was asked to step out of his vehicle, he allegedly reached into a pocket and pulled out a black nylon case, which he claimed to be a pocket knife. Gawf sat the case in the seat of the vehicle.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • ts-CN-citizenship.jpg Dual citizenship still OK for tribes

    It’s been almost a year since the United Keetoowah Band of Cherokee Indians in Oklahoma was forced to close its casino, leaving about 150 members without jobs.
    Right before the operations was shuttered, Cherokee Nation Principal Chief Bill John Baker offered a plan to absorb UKB employees, scheduling three employment registration meetings in September 2013.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • TPS to hold graduation at Doc Wadley, after all

    A letter obtained by the Tahlequah Daily Press states that graduation exercises for the Tahlequah High School Class of 2014 will be held at Doc Wadley Stadium on May 23.
    Tahlequah Public Schools received an invitation from the city and Northeastern State University to hold the graduation ceremony inside the NSU multipurpose event center, and the district was initially agreeable. But the necessity of limiting invitations to 10 or 15 per student because of seating concerns drew heavy criticism from seniors and parents.

    April 22, 2014

  • Woman allegedly went after relative, then cop

    Deputies say a 22-year-old woman assaulted a family member Saturday, then attacked an officer when he tried to arrest her.
    Deputy Bryan Qualls was sent to investigate the domestic disturbance at Hilltop Circle. Donna Wilder, the alleged victim, told Qualls that the suspect, Kaylynn Sharp, was hiding in the garage, and had struck her in the face several times.

    April 22, 2014

  • jn-city-pool.jpg City of Tahlequah progressing on bond projects

    Just more than a year after the city began collecting a sales tax funds for use on capital improvements, crews continue to work toward finishing several of the projects.
    “We’re going to deliver everything we said we would,” Tahlequah Mayor Jason Nichols said Friday.
    The $21-million-plus bond issue approved in 2013 includes about $10 million worth of street projects. South Muskogee Avenue will eventually be widened into a five-lane stretch; East Fourth Street’s widening project is underway; and West Fourth will become, at least in part, a three-lane road.
    Projects will also focus on parts of North Grand, East Allen, Bluff, Crafton, and North Cedar.

    April 21, 2014 1 Photo

  • duvall-dustin.jpg Four men charged with burglary

    Four local men are facing burglary and stolen-property charges in Cherokee County District Court.
    Prosecutors have charged the four men with second-degree burglary and knowingly concealing stolen property.

    April 21, 2014 3 Photos

Poll

How confident are you that the immunizations for infants and children are reasonably safe?

Not at all confident.
Somewhat confident.
Relatively confident.
Extremely confident.
undecided.
     View Results
Tahlequah Daily Press Twitter
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter New Yorkers Celebrate Cherry Blossom Blooms SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Justice Dept. Broadening Criteria for Clemency Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers 'Miss Meadows' Takes Holmes Back to Her Roots Biden: Russia Must Stop Talking, Start Acting David Moyes Out As Manchester United Manager Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs High Court to Hear Dispute of TV Over Internet Stowaway Teen Forces Review of Airport Security
Stocks