Students to AVC Board: ‘Don’t close the pool!’

Students hold up signs at the AVC Board meeting Monday to protest the possible closing of the campus pool.

LANCASTER – With signs such as “Students say stay cool, don’t close the pool” and “New Stadium = closed pool?”  Antelope Valley College students protested the possible closure of the campus pool Monday evening during the Board of Trustees meeting.

In early March, Coach Jackie Lott received an email stating that the pool would be closed after the Spring semester due to needed renovations costing approximately $800,000. According to the email, funding for the project was unavailable because of budget cuts.

“We’ve been told several things. It’s not going to be closed, it’s only going to be closed for certain classes, it is going to be closed,” Lott said. “So the students wanted to show up to the meeting…to voice their concerns because everybody kind of feels like we’re getting different answers. We’re getting different stories and they don’t want to lose their facility.”

Sherell Comfort speaks to the Board of Trustees as the representative for the students who are against the campus pool closure.

Sherrell Comfort spoke on behalf of the students Monday during open forum.

“The pool is a vital component of the school curriculum,” Comfort said. “The pool renovation amount is hard to believe and we appeal to you to re-examine the breakdown of the cost.”

The pool provides an environment for people with disabilities to exercise and offers an immeasurable amount of stress relief for students, she added.

“It just seems with all the new projects on campus – they’re building the stadium, they’re building the new sports complex – it just seems like they keep building things…” said DaVitta Patterson, a student in the beginning swim class. “But [they’re]  not focusing on things that are actually their bread and butter, such as the swim classes or a yoga class that students actually fill up within the first couple weeks of registration.”

Jennifer Cohill said she wanted to pursue a minor of athletics, specifically swimming.

“It’s kind of unfair that they’re closing the pool to all these swimmers or potential swimmers,” Cohill said.

More than 400 spots would be affected, she added and “that’s a big chunk of the school’s students there.”

Like Patterson, Cina Irizarry takes swimming classes at the college.

“Water aerobics strengthens me,” Irizarry said. “It gives me inner strength, emotional strength, and it makes me happy.”

Jary Gonzalez said he doesn’t want the pool to close because he loves swimming, and it also makes him happy.

“It’s a free world for me,” he said.

“The pool is not only a PE class,” added student Elizabeth Jacobi. “Swimming is a good recreation, and it can make academics really boring if it’s not there anymore.”

History professor Matthew Jaffe and Coach Lott showed up to the Board of Trustees meeting to support the students.

Jaffe said he hoped with faculty support, the board would see it wasn’t just a group of disgruntled students and take the matter seriously.

“This is important. We’re here to serve the students first,” he said.

The board makes the ultimate decision on closing down the pool, Jaffe said, and if students speak, the board usually listens.

A similar situation happened recently where officials were not going to allow dance classes to be held in the new theater, Lott said.

“The dance students in solidarity went to a board meeting, and we just feel like we need to do the same thing to make them aware of how many people will be involved in closing the pool,” she said.

The board decided to reverse the decision in the dance students’ case, and Lott said she is hoping for the same thing for the pool closure.

To raise awareness of the issue, students started a petition to keep the pool open and stated their case on the AVC Facebook page. Comfort gave the college board the petition Monday evening, which had more than 400 signatures on it.

Board president Betty Wienke gave a decision regarding the pool closure during the board meeting.

“With the suggestion of administration, we will continue to have classes in the fall, and further review the conditions of the pool during that semester,” Wienke said.

The board is in a difficult position because they have to make big cuts, she said.

“Every place we look, there are students that are extremely passionate about that area,” Wienke said.

Cuts will be made down the road to keep the doors of AVC open, which means there is no guarantee the pool won’t be closed at some point, she said.

For now, however, Wienke said the schedule of classes for the fall will continue as planned.

  12 comments for “Students to AVC Board: ‘Don’t close the pool!’

  1. April 11, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    Sure is quiet in the Zimmerman, support camp….

    • H20 eternal
      April 19, 2012 at 2:46 pm

      Wow, Mr. Professor sounds like a politician in guize. If one wants to make those kinds of claims, one has a responsibility to give the facts.
      AVC has many demographics, in fact MANY faculty use the pool. But in today’s culture of us vs.them (one of the pillars of a republic/dictatorsip, NOT a Democracy)many, including the English blogger, seem to use this platform for a different topic altogether.
      Let me get this right, people who are at the whim of the public are responsible for the State of California’a governments budget? Your words English professor, just saying them loud and clear so you can say what you really mean.

      Thanks for the public forum, NOW BACK TO THE TOPIC AT HAND:
      SAVING AVC POOL for the same people – the students and community members – who voted for Measure R. Why the 50 million spent on a 2 million dollar original estimate to fix the stadium, not whining about $37 thousand to keep the pool running?
      PUN intended, SOUNDS FISHY (ENGLISH PROF please correct my spelling)

      SPEAK UP PEOPLE! Did you see what the students of Santa Monica College did?

    • H20 eternal
      September 27, 2012 at 4:01 pm

      AS of Monday Sept 24th, the College announced it IS CLOSING the AVC pool effective Spring 2013 semester.

  2. April 11, 2012 at 12:30 pm

    Try getting basic classes for career and degree advancement…every class is full after the priority students register. No wonder the biz at University of AV is booming. Seems to me, the college could expand and get the government to pay them, the inflated cost of those programs at UAV. A program that only cost maybe 5,000 at the college will cost 25,000 at UAV. The gov will pay for both programs. So why not expand at the real college using the difference? the students will at least get a Bona Fide education. What happened to the Money?

    • B.
      April 11, 2012 at 3:01 pm

      What happened is that you have a ton of people on welfare using the services of Antelope Valley College and other community colleges in California because they get to go to school for free under a program that was meant to get them off welfare but which fails to do so because they figured out a way to scam said program.

      And most of these welfare people do not pay state or federal taxes, so while they are expanding the enrollment numbers of the college, they are not paying to support the college infrastructure.

      So when you have a bunch of people using something that are not paying their fair share to be there you have all sorts of problems with funding and infrastructure and other things. Its really sad but thats the issue. It is also the reason that the State of California is broke as a joke right now!

      • Sherell
        April 19, 2012 at 6:54 am

        You are so off target with this issue and I can’t believe that you had the courage to make a statement like this. It has nothing to do with welfare people at all. Don’t assume that you know what class of people are abusing the system. If you would take a look at the economy situation, a lot of people who have jobs and had jobs are now put in a position that they have to go back to school to further their education. There are so many people at the college level who are paying their own way in college. Not all of the funding is free and those of us who are investing in our education must pay back our funding. The Community College level is the least expensive and is very valuable form for those of us who wish to obtain degrees and live at the same time. You are right when you stated that “so when you have a bunch of people using something that are not paying their fair share to be there you have all sorts of problems with funding and infrastructure and other things.” But you are wrong when you say that welfare people are the reason, because there are all classes of people who find loop holes and fully use them to their advantage. Look at the tax code! When you have millionaires only paying 3% in taxes, who is taken advantage of the system?

  3. AV Town Crier
    April 11, 2012 at 10:27 am

    Don’t forget the $100,000 they spend on that piano. I guess theater arts and sports is more important than science and math.

    • Tara Colburn
      April 11, 2012 at 3:22 pm

      The money for the piano came from Measure R funds. That money was specifically for the theater and could not be spent in any other area. The new Health and Science building is built on Measure R funds too, and it will have lots of its own goodies that other departments will be jealous of.

  4. teshi
    April 11, 2012 at 8:25 am

    What a waste of Measure R!! We were told this was going to expand the Health, Computer and Lab not only at the Lancaster campus but Palmdale too!! Now we are looking into closing our pool? For Sports?! We have a Beautiful 400 seat Performing Arts, that 80% of our student will not even use!!Now there is no money in the budget for our BASIC needs, because they wasted MILLIONS of dollars on a parking lot, MOVED the Field back and our Performing Aarts Theater! Where are the extra classes? Where is the Bigger Wet Labs? Where is the Computer Tech upgrades? Where is the funding to get Palmdale somewhat independant. Now due to budget cuts, we lose more? Nope!! Someone’s got to go!! There needs to be a renovation of Trustee and Board members. Where is the education priorities at? Not where it needs to be!!

    • Tara Colburn
      April 11, 2012 at 3:23 pm

      There will be cuts all over. AVC lost $5.8 million in state funding this year alone.

    • english professor
      April 11, 2012 at 3:38 pm

      Where IS the education priorities at? Where IS the computer tech upgrades? Good god, you don’t need to worry about AVC, you need to go back to 3rd grade English class….but first, refer to the post above from B.

      • H20 eternal
        April 19, 2012 at 3:15 pm

        You need to go back to class professor and learn some webiquette, good luck with that! Is that how you treat your students? Belittleing them and humiliating them into submissive behavior? I thought that went out with one room schools?
        Don’t tell me where you teach, I might have to have a chat with your superior.

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