Local residents would like to see more programs offered at the North Country Community College pool in Saranac Lake at hours that are more convenient to them, according to a recent survey conducted by the college.
A total of 491 people took the online survey, which the college hopes to use to help inform future decision-making about the pool.
Among the highlights of the survey, a large number of respondents (21 percent) said they haven’t used the college pool in the past year, while others (15 percent) said they use it several times a season or two to three times per week (11 percent). Another 21 percent haven’t used in the past year, but have used it historically.
When asked why they don’t use the pool, or use it as often as they’d like, nearly 40 percent said the hours are not practical while another 17 percent said they weren’t even aware the pool was open for community use. In write-in comments, some people said the condition of the locker rooms (outdated, lack of privacy) has kept them away.
Programs people are most interested in seeing at the pool include open and lap swimming, swim lessons, water aerobics and lifeguard training. Swim teams and scuba diving instruction were also suggested. Respondents said they’d be more likely to use the pool on weekday evenings, and throughout the day on weekends.
Ninety-three percent of respondents are willing to pay a fee to use the pool, which the college currently charges. Asked if they’d pay a higher fee if the money was used to hire a recreation director to publicize, market and coordinate programs for the pool, 42 percent said yes, 40 percent were not sure and 18 percent said no. Almost 80 percent of respondents said they would support the college seeking additional funding from its sponsoring counties to upgrade the pool.
A final question allowed respondents to provide any additional comments. Most used the opportunity to encourage the college to find ways to keep the pool open, while just a handful supported closing it, survey organizers said.
The survey results and comments have been distributed to the college community. An engineering firm hired by the college recently outlined a draft master plan for the Saranac Lake campus that, among other projects, looked at the feasibility of either closing the pool and replacing it with needed fitness center and locker room space, or keeping the pool and expanding the athletic complex to provide for those additional uses.
For more information about North Country Community College visit their website.
Photo of North Country Community College pool provided.