It’s time for Sandwich to throw in the towel where the high school swimming pool is concerned.
This week we learned that it will cost the town between $662,000 and $857,000 to replace the 39-year-old pool’s heating and cooling systems. Plus there’s the $39,000 to fix a leak that has left the pool closed since last winter. And let’s not forget the ongoing costs of operating a public swimming pool.
The Sandwich pool has been a source of controversy in past years, especially regarding public use of the pool and locker rooms during school hours.
Superintendent Richard Canfield implies that the removal of the swimming pool might cause students to “seek better opportunities”. To us that looks like wielding school competition like a five-year-old playing with a loaded pistol.
Sandwich High School remains a strong academic performer. Frankly, we don’t see a mass exodus of students happening specifically because they don’t have a swimming pool.
If a kid from Sandwich is accepted at Sturgis Charter Public School, that kid is “gone”. A swimming pool isn’t going to deter him or her from attending one of the nation’s best high schools.
The rest of the students who leave Sandwich would likely do so to get away from the culture at the high school, as opposed to seeking a superior academic experience.
Perhaps if the district spent some time mending the culture at SHS he could see his way clear of spending $857,000 on an unnecessary pool.
Then again, if the school committee wasn’t wasting hundreds of thousands on litigation or settlements with former administrators and students, perhaps the taxpayers would feel more generous on restoring the pool. Mary Ellen Johnson, Maxine Minkoff and most recently the McGrath’s family suit against the town and school officials – but that’s a story for another day.
Sandwich taxpayers are already drowning in school expenses as they spend $650,000 for window repairs at the high school and are confronted with an obsolete Henry T. Wing School.
It’s time to throw in the towel and remove the swimming pool.