MOUNT VERNON, N.Y. - For the first time in the better part of a decade, progress is being made at the pool facility at the Mount Vernon High School through the efforts of Superintendent Kenneth Hamilton and Assemblyman J. Gary Pretlow.
In 2010, the pool at the high school was forced to be shut down when a leak was discovered in the facility during a routine inspection. In the following years, various issues with the project and budget restraints have prevented district officials from making necessary repairs to make it a safe destination for swimmers.
As a result, “the pool fell out of compliance with current state and county regulations governing aquatic facilities,” Pretlow said when announcing he secured a $1 million grant for repairs. “The grant will provide the much-needed capital to make the necessary repairs to bring the pool into compliance with all the applicable rules and regulations.”
Pretlow noted that having a clean, compliant pool open to the community is especially significant and important in a city as diverse as Mount Vernon.
“The reopening of the pool is a significant event for the city of Mount Vernon and the school district because, according to a 2010 study commissioned by the United States Swimming and Research Corner, 70 percent of African American children and 60 percent of Hispanic children have very little to no swimming ability, compared to 40 percent of Caucasians, putting these communities at risk for drowning fatalities,” he stated.
“Every student deserves a well-rounded education with access to quality resources and facilities,” Pretlow added. “This project shows our commitment to physical education and will increase opportunities for the community.”
Once the pool is reopened, the school district has pledged to provide several new programs for students, including free swimming lessons for any Mount Vernon resident, as well as classes to train and certify those interested in serving as lifeguards.
“This is an exciting project, not only for the Mount Vernon School District, but for the community,” Hamilton said. “The reopening of the aquatic facility will provide our community with year-round access to a pool where they can engage in everything from recreational swims to swim lessons.
It will allow us to provide lifeguard training to our students, which will provide them with well-paying summer job opportunities. We had already pledged a commitment to get the pool open and phase in the repairs over the next several years in order to comply with current regulations. We will now be able to move full speed ahead and accelerate the full renovation of the pool.”
Hamilton noted that opening the pool was a priority for the district, and Pretlow's aid accelerated the plan.
"We had already pledged a commitment to get the pool open and phase in the repairs over the next several years in order to comply with current regulations," he said. "We will now be able to move full speed ahead and accelerate the full renovation of the pool."