Now is the time for a pool at Cape High

January 7, 2014

Cape Henlopen School District is preparing a referendum for a new elementary school. It’s a process that could offer voters a chance to reconsider building a pool for school and community use.

During the 2006 referendum for the high school, a pool was proposed, but administrative missteps sparked taxpayer opposition. The high school was approved, but the pool fell victim to mistrust and controversy.

Eight years later, as the district considers a new elementary school, the region is emerging from recession, and new housing is once again going up all over the region.

With growth comes demand for services. The region’s only pool, at the Sussex Family YMCA in Rehoboth Beach, is already in constant use: from the moment it opens, the lanes fill, and on many days they don’t empty until closing. In addition to lane swimmers, exercise classes draw dozens of participants, and family swims reveal the area’s many future pool users. Pool-based exercise is popular for the region’s fastest-growing population: older residents. But it doesn’t stop there. A pool offers low-impact cross-training for athletes in all sports and for everyone recovering from injury or surgery – all in addition to the talented Vikings swim team, which virtually takes over the Y pool for practice and completely swamps the tiny facility during home meets. Then there’s the need to train lifeguards.

Beyond all of these demands for pool time is the simple fact that we live at the beach. Every child deserves to feel safe, and every child deserves to enjoy the beaches and bays our region is famous for. That can happen only when every child who attends Cape schools learns to swim.

Some voters were skeptical the last time around, but Cape High speaks for itself: its facilities showcase district students, offer space for all kinds of community events, and draw national and international talent to the Cape Region. It’s time to put aside old doubts. Cape Henlopen School District should build a new elementary school, and it should invest in an aquatics center that will promote the health and safety of every resident of the Cape Region.

  • Cape Gazette editorials are considered and written by members of the Cape Gazette editorial board which includes Dennis Forney, publisher; Trish Vernon, editor; Dave Frederick, sports editor emeritus; Laura Ritter, news editor; Jen Ellingsworth, associate editor; and Nick Roth, sports editor.

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