Splash! That’s the sound that could be coming from the FAMU Aquatics Center in a couple weeks if a proposed bill is approved by the Student Government Association.
There are currently two proposals for next year. One is for emergency funds after the pool is finished going through construction and the other bill is for the 2012-2013 school year.
The Aquatic Center is a ‘multi-use’ facility that was first opened in 1980. Due to budget cuts that affected the entire university, the pool closed in 2008 because of the lack in funding to keep the facility operating. The pool was used in the past as a place for students to participate in athletics, academics, recreational activities, scuba diving, intramural competitions and varsity competitions.
Jorge L. Olaves H., the director and head coach of educational and recreational facility swimming and diving explained how “competitions from the Sunshine
Games were done here, hosting big teams like the British swimming team.”
“We had a seal competition and got second place overall to become HBCU champs in 2002-2004, and was ranked 36th amongst all universities in the country.” Olaves elaborated. “We have a lot of different users, so we need to try to support the center in a way this can continue growing.”
Olaves said the main concern of opening the pool is to have proper supervision for all the activities, because “without lifeguards, that is dangerous.”
In order to reduce the rate of drowning in the community, opening the FAMU pool will allow people to take swimming classes.
“Lack of pools around the low income communities have increased the risk of drowning. About five percent to 10 percent,” Olaves said. The pool is used for the entire university community.
Students at FAMU said having the pool opened will be useful and beneficial.
Ron Donaldson Jr., a pharmacy student, said, “I would absolutely use the pool if it were open because working out in the pool is a good workout for all of your muscles.” Donaldson strongly emphasizes that the pool will benefit FAMU students by giving them the opportunity to swim and try new methods of exercising because not everyone lives in a complex that has a functioning pool.
“It would be a lot more convenient if the pool were open because I don’t leave campus until late sometimes, so the pool would be right here,” Donaldson explained.
“We have the gym here which I utilize five days a week, and I’m ready to use the pool twice a week.”
“I would use the pool as a hot spot for events during the warmer months,” said Brandon Mitchell, a senior business administration student. “More students would be willing to come to the FAMU pool because it’s right on campus and it’s convenient for freshmen who don’t have cars.”
The Aquatic Center currently has an endorsement under the College of Education for students interested in the aquatics field, which was approved in 2002. Training in aquatics enhances studying oceanography, marine biology, underwater science and any other related areas.
Persons interested in studying in the aquatics program can contact Jorge L. Olaves at email@example.com.