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January 27, 2014

Effort underway to renovate OHS pool

A community effort is underway to raise the $400,000 needed to make the necessary repairs so the Oneonta High School pool can return to full use, several familiar with the effort said. Former Oneonta Interim Superintendent David Rowley is the chairman of the Committee to Restore the OHS Pool, a fund-raising effort that would pay the local share of the repairs, with the balance to be paid by the state through a school project. The goal is to have repairs completed by 2015.

The group is working closely with Superintendent Joseph Yelich and the board of education on the effort. If it is successful, Yelich said that project could go before voters in a separate referendum in the spring. In these economic times, it is an opportunity to have the repairs with no school tax dollars. If successful, it would return an important instructional facility to the district that would mean the return of swim classes and other scholastic opportunities, and greater opportunities for the community.

The group has received $50,000 from a local foundation that asked by nameless and $20,000 from the Dewar Foundation, said Rowley. It will soon be bringing the campaign to the general public.

Because of several mechanical problems, the pool has not been fully utilized for more than two years, Athletic Director Joe Hughes said. It is used by the girls swim team for training and meets. But with problems to the filters, pumps and ventilation system, its use is being kept to a minimum, with the hope that limited use can continue until it is fixed. 

With the district lacking the necessary funds, “we are playing with borrowed time,” he said. He was confident that Rowley and the committee that began last summer will be successful. 

“Its a great facility for students and community.”

Rowley said the committee will be contacting other foundations and is organizing a broad based fund-raising campaign,with the support of the Community Foundation of South Central New York. 

“The community support in Oneonta has always been outstanding” for similar efforts. 

He is confident people will rally to this.

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