Bowling Green is in need of a dedicated community pool, and we believe a partnership between the city government and the Bowling Green Independent School District to that end would make a real splash.
With the age of the current natatorium at Bowling Green High School approaching 50 years, and the state unwilling to grant funding to replace it because it considers the pool an athletic facility, it’s unrealistic to expect a small school district to shoulder the cost on its own.
The state’s argument doesn’t hold water because the high school’s pool is already effectively a community swimming facility.
Bowling Green Independent School District Superintendent Gary Fields recently pointed out in an interview with the Daily News that the pool is being used by senior citizens, the Boy Scouts and even emergency responders – not just the school’s swim team.
“There’s numerous organizations that use our pool and, nine times out of 10, at no cost,” he said.
As part of the high school’s broader renovation plans, the district wants to demolish the natatorium and build a new one elsewhere on campus.
But asking the district to dip into its general fund to make that happen could prolong the length of time that the swimming facility is unavailable.
Most organizations would probably be able to find a solution. However, for vulnerable populations, like elderly people who depend on the pool for exercise, the loss could be more damaging.
This is why we applaud the Bowling Green City Commission voicing consensus at its annual retreat last month to at least explore the possibility of working with the city school district on this.
The community as a whole can benefit from a more complete offering of athletic facilities. If we all chip in, we can all share the rewards.