from Philomath School District Interim Superintendent Buzz Brazeau and BCF President and CEO Chris Quaka
To the greater Philomath community:
As many of you may know, the project to renovate the Clemens Community Pool hit a major obstacle last month, and it looks like we will need to move in a different direction to be able to keep the existing pool facility open. We want to assure you that we see this as a temporary state of affairs. The Philomath School District and the Benton Community Foundation are committed to keeping the children of Philomath and surrounding rural communities swimming. We will continue to collaborate with each other and with the community to explore both interim fixes and long-term solutions. We invite you to join us in developing a vision for the future of aquatics in Philomath.
The Clemens Community Pool is almost 60 years old and it has been overdue for renovations and repairs for several years. Last fall, the Benton Community Foundation gave a significant donation to the school district to undertake a major renovation project. This gift came from an endowment set up by the Nitka family 25 years ago specifically to support an aquatics resource in Philomath. Unfortunately, the builders hired for the renovation uncovered significant challenges to the pool’s vessel – the part that holds the water. Renovating the pool at this point would cost significantly more than the original estimate, which is more than we have.
We are now actively gathering information and exploring all options. We plan to engage key decision makers and our community, with a goal of developing a long-term solution for this important community resource. Above all, we are committed to Philomath residents having access to a pool where our children can safely learn to swim, and where people of all ages can exercise, socialize, and build community. This was the vision of the Clemens family when they built the pool 60 years ago, and of the Nitka family when they provided their generous gift 25 years ago.
The recent donation from the Benton Community Foundation to renovate the pool is being returned to be re-invested for continued growth as we work toward a long-term solution. We are exploring the option of running a capital campaign to raise the additional funds needed to properly renovate the Clemens pool facility. This renovation would likely be a lengthy process. So, we are also exploring interim solutions, to keep our students swimming .
While the recent turn of events might feel like a setback for the pool that the folks of the greater Philomath community have come to know and love, we encourage you to look to the future. We are going to take one step back and then many steps forward in the coming years. Through developing a strong vision, working together, and engaging the community, we will end up with the pool the people of Philomath need.
Buzz Brazeau • Superintendent, Philomath School District
Chris Quaka • President and CEO, Benton Community Foundation