Collaboration among the Ashe County Board of Education, Ashe County Board of Commissioners, and the Ashe County Pool Community Group has resulted in a project to build a new pool. Each group is contributing one-third, or approximately $83,000, of the planned $250,000 project. The low bid by Vannoy Construction Company came in at $242,921.
Needed repairs to the entranceway to the pool could be paid for out of funds the board of education receives from the county. The new pool will have a maximum depth of seven feet in the deep end and four feet in the shallow end.
“The Ashe County Board of Education is proud to partner with the Ashe County Commissioners and the community group to complete this project for the students and community of Ashe County,” stated a press release from the BOE, written by Information Officer Joallen Lowder. “The community group has raised approximately $55,000, including pledges. Lucian Jordan and Melonie Church have spearheaded the group. Jordan stated, ‘All students from Ashe County go through Ashe County Middle School. We want every student to have the opportunity to learn how to swim.’ The facility will also be available for public use during summer months. The community group is not finished raising money and will continue fundraising efforts until reaching its goal.”
Lowder wrote about the history of the middle school pool.
“The original pool was constructed in 1975. Students, faculty and friends in the community of Northwest Ashe High School in Warrensville built the first indoor swimming pool on a public school campus in North Carolina. The idea for building a pool came from students who took their idea to then principal, Morris Walker. Vocational education instructors Swansie Shepherd, Gwyn Campbell and Cecil Shoaf were instrumental in bringing the project to fruition. Arvil Roark, school custodian, handled all the transportation needs. The students in the masonry, carpentry and welding classes worked on this project along with teachers and other members of the student body. Community members assisted with this endeavor by donating their time, encouragement and money to finance the project. The original pool was valued at $300,000.”
“The pool served Ashe County for more than 30 years before it was closed in 2008,” Lowder wrote. Construction will begin as soon as a contract has been signed.