Looking Back: Swim Club told to repair pool in 60 days

Bridget Janis, Staff Reporter

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The Swim Club was given 60 days to find a way to repair its pool without using the university’s money on Jan. 8, 1992.

According to Robert McGarry, then vice president of finance and administrations, the Board of Trustees decided to give the Meadow Brook subdivision association time to come up with a plan to make the pool fiscally viable.

The pool was 56 years old and located near the John Dodge House on the east side of campus and was used by faculty and community members. According to a report submitted to the trustees by OU’s then Interim President John DeCarlo and McGarry, the pool needed renovations that would cost $143,000 to comply with the state’s Department of Health regulations in order to stay open.

At the time the club only had $55,575 to cover the repairs. They needed an additional $87,425 to cover the cost, and the university was not able to lend them the rest of the money.

“People in Rochester and Rochester Hills have no alternatives except the two expensive clubs in town,” Lauren Shepherd, vice president of the 54-subdivision association, then said. “[The pool is] the best kept secret in town. It’s a wonderful family pool for young children.”

A budget proposal was sent to Howard Sims, chairman of the Board of Trustees on Feb. 3, from the OU Swim Club Committees. They proposed the income would be based on the 160 members, with community members paying $525 a year, faculty and staff paying $325 a year and a $100 initiation fee for new members.

The proposal stated the need for a “phased three-year approach to repairing the pool to be negotiated between OU and the Oakland County Health Department.”

According to William Rodger, then managing director of the golf course and the pool, and his copy of the health department’s report, the flagstone deck surrounding the pool needed to be leveled, and the pool’s gutters needed to be repaired. It also needed to be sandblasted, painted and needed a smooth layer of cement added to the pool surface.

The committee proposed that they work on some of the repairs that year that could be done for $5,000-$10,000.

“We talked with the health department and they said our plan is fine as long as maintenance is done in the pool so the quality is raised and not neglected,” said then Katherine Barney, committee member. “They are not saying everything needs to be done this year.”

The Finance and Personnel Committee of the BOT agreed to the Swim Club starting a membership drive to bring in at least 160 members to cover the cost of the repairs. They were looking for 135 community members and 25 faculty and staff members that would create an income of $279,000.

The committee did not have enough time to reach their goal. A letter sent in early March to McGarry wrote, “Unfortunately, the late notice, public school recess and uncertainty of the pool opening date made people hesitate to commit to the membership.”

The pool was then closed for the season and the club members could then come up with a plan for the upcoming year.