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Our View: Taking the plunge

Local swimming enthusiasts and high school swim teams have found a temporary solution to the loss of the pool at Southern Oregon University. The Parks Commission was right to approve winter use of Daniel Meyer Pool for the next five years. The city and its residents should use that time to seriously pursue a community aquatic center, something Ashland lacks.

Master Swimmers and school swim teams were dismayed when SOU elected not to replace its pool as part of the McNeal Pavilion renovation. They approached the city to request that Daniel Meyer Pool be upgraded enough to allow its use from November through February.

That doesn't mean adding a cover, but it does mean insulating and heating the bath house at an estimated cost of $20,000. The Parks Department has the money, which was set aside as the city's share of an aquatic center feasibility study that hasn't materialized. Rental fees for the winter use would pay the money back as well as covering the cost of heating the pool to 80 degrees.

This is a temporary fix, to be sure. School representatives noted that other Oregon schools use outdoor pools in winter, and they have more rain. But the biggest concern about winter swimming isn't the rain — swimmers get wet anyway — it's the cold. It does snow here, after all.

If the swimmers are game, the city should accommodate them, and the Parks Commission has done so. Meanwhile, swimming advocates should push for that feasibility study.