Pool to re-open March 16

Johnson State College’s swimming pool will reopen on March 16 after approximately 4 months of downtime, with a reopening celebration scheduled for March 21.

The six-lane, 25 yard pool closed on Nov. 18 after the compressor that runs the Zephyr dehumidification/heating system failed on Nov. 8. The failure did not make for a promising future for the pool, which JSC had already considered closing due to a budget shortfall that was announced last spring.

The pool has been a major financial drain for JSC, with it costing $80,000 each year to run, and most recently another $50,000-$70,000 in repairs to patch the old system.

However, pool users argued that the value that it brings to the college and Johnson community cannot be overlooked. Swimming lessons, fitness classes, academic classes and open swim hours are just a glimpse toward the activities that the pool offers. Without another pool in the immediate area, the talk of its closure inspired a 10-person committee to form last fall to help find funding.

On Nov. 14, it was announced that JSC had been approved for a long-term loan from Vermont State College’s “Green Revolving Fund” to replace the old system with a new, energy-efficient one that came in at a total of approximately $265,000. This fund was created in 2012 to help the five Vermont State Colleges with their energy-saving initiatives. JSC will have five years to pay back the loans, as well as principal and interest. The new system will also save the college $20,000 each year to run the pool.

The reopening was initially scheduled for mid-February, but was pushed back due to a delay in the delivery of the new system. The 2 week installation process began during February break, and is followed by a week of startup and commissioning of the unit as the water heats.

The entire Johnson community and public are welcomed to the reopening celebration on March 21, with free access of the pool and other facilities in the SHAPE Athletics and Fitness Center from 10 am to 1 pm.

Two programs will be offered for the remainder of the spring in the pool: Water aerobics on Tuesdays and Thursdays starting March 24 from 4:30-5:30pm, and Fitness swim from 5:30-6:30pm on Thursdays starting March 26.

Pool hours will be: Monday through Friday 8 to 9 am, 11:30 am to 1:30 pm, and 5 to 7 pm. Saturday from 10 am to 1pm, and Sunday from 2 to 5 pm.