The pool at Memorial Boulevard School where generations of students have learned to swim is in its last laps.
The pool would need “significant renovations” to remain more than a few years, said Tom O’Brien, a member of the Board of Education.
“Long-term, the pool will be closed,” he said.
In fact, O’Brien said, in “a relatively short time” the pool is likely to be out of service for good.
Marci Jones, the principal of the middle school, said the pool is currently used as a teaching station for physical education classes.
Jones said that half the students in the class are in the nearby gymnasium while the other half are in the pool. They switch off, she said, so that everybody gets a turn in the water.
Swimming courses take place from November until spring break, the school’s website says, and all students “are required to take part.”
Educators plan to close the school as part of a switch to a kindergarten to eighth grade system that will open two new schools and shutter three old elementary buildings and the former high school on Memorial Boulevard.
Consultants working on a possible community theater in the historic auditorium, which would remain even if the school closes, said that the pool area might be perfect for a “green room” where actors and performers could prepare before going on stage.
The pool and gym are located under the auditorium, with the pool underneath the stage itself.
Assuming the school projects aren’t delayed long, there probably wouldn’t be more than a year or two when the school would remain open with a new theater operating. There might not be any overlap at all.
Bill Clegg, president of the Schoenhardt architectural firm in Simsbury, said that theater experts need to know the fate of the pool to figure out how best to redesign the historic school’s auditorium to add rehearsal, dressing, storage, set and other rooms needed to make it more functional.
City Councilor Craig Minor said he had “held out hope” that the pool might have a place even after the school closes.
But O’Brien said it can’t remain.
The building was finished in 1922 and served as the city’s only high school until 1959. It was converted to a junior high school in 1967. Since 1993, it has housed sixth, seventh and eighth graders.
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
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