Resuscitating Florida A&M’s Aquatic Center requires nearly $90,000 to pay for lifeguards and maintenance. A proposal has gone to the Student Government Association for its approval, according to the pool director.
The Aquatic Center, which opened in 1980 and closed down in 2008 due to budget cuts, is in the process of reopening just in time for the heat.
Students were enthused to see the pool back filled with water recently but everyone is asking “How long will it be before we can swim in it?”
“There are a lot of things that need to take place,” said Jorge L. Olaves director and head coach of educational and recreational facility swimming and diving.
In the past, students swam, scuba-dived and did underwater athletics in the pool. The reopening of the pool will bring all of these opportunities back to the campus and the community, including swimming lessons and lifeguard training.
Not only would the reopening of the pool bring back athletic and recreational programs but also the Aquatic Center is endorsed under the College of Education for students interested in aquatics. Current students will be able to train in oceanography, marine biology, underwater science and related fields.
Olaves explained that the pool should be fully functional in a few weeks depending on SGA. “The proposal has been done, but I don’t know when they’re going to respond,” Olaves said.
The proposal asked for $88,000: $67,200 to pay eight lifeguards and the remaining $13,800 would pay for rescue equipment and uniforms for the lifeguards.
“This is all a process,” said Ariana Williams, chairwoman for SGA’s financial committee. “The budget should be presented to the senate in about two weeks, after the senate it goes to the student body president and if approved it has to go before the university president and the board of trustees.”
“We need all of this before the pool can open,” Olaves said. The Aquatic Center needs lifeguards and swim teachers. The pool will also need chemicals and constant maintenance. These things however, will not be possible without the appropriate funding required.
“I’m really excited about the pool reopening, it brings back the old-school feel of being in college and excitement to our FAMU students,” said Steven Serrano, a fourth-year businesses administration student from Washington, D.C.
Many students don’t have access to pools in their housing complexes. For some reopening the Aquatic Center is overdue. Like a watering hole, the pool is expected to bring together on-campus and off-campus students as well as the community.