El Reno community coming together to save local pool

EL RENO, Okla. - Like many colleges across the state, Redlands Community College is getting hit with budget woes.

After looking at the books, college officials realize they'll have to close the pool to keep funding flowing to the classrooms.

“We're talking tens of thousands of dollars just for the repairs, and, of course, the ongoing maintenance, the cost of lifeguards and in that nature," said Redlands' communication director, Dayna Rowe.

Usage of the pool, which is open to the public, brings in close to $12,000 dollars.

It costs more than $18,000 to pay the lifeguards, and now, there's a $23,000 bill for a new pool cover and two pool pumps.

It's money the school just doesn't have.

“Our primary mission is education. We didn't feel the swimming pool was a vital expense,” said Rowe.

The news of the college pool closing hit folks in El Reno hard.

“We as a committee have come together and we think we can raise the funds to keep it operational,” said Marvin Smith.

Smith is part of a group called “Save Our Pool." He met with college officials and lawyers to find a way to keep the pool from running dry.

“All I want out of it is to see the pool operational, and working with the Redlands Community College to make that happen,” said Smith.

Because Redlands is a college that is owned by the state, officials couldn't just sell the pool or give it away.

However, the Redlands Community College Foundation can take donations.

“We will start doing fundraising, I already have a number of pledges, but I don't want to collect any funds until it's approved,” Smith said.

The board will have to approve the measure and that gives the Save Our Pool committee until August 31 to raise $100,000.

“This is not a one-time option,” said Rowe.

The group will have to raise donations each year to keep the pool doors open.

“People see a need and they want to see it be successful and that`s my motive, my passion to do that,” said Smith.

Redlands Community College will continue to maintain the pool if the donation goal is met.

If not, the donations will be returned back to the donors.