SRC is temporary home for Watauga County pool users

Ansley Puckett, Reporter

As Watauga County prepares its new recreation center for a spring 2020 opening, the Student Recreation Center’s aquatics facility is providing the county’s pool needs.

Stephen Poulos, director of Watauga County Parks and Recreation, wrote discussions of a new facility started almost five decades ago in the 1970s and has required a lot of planning.

Poulos wrote that parks and rec tore down the previous building and pool and completed and land deal purchase with App State, which included the old Watauga High School campus.

According to Poulos, all parks and rec programming is still ongoing except for pool-related programming after the old recreation center was torn down in early May. The new recreation center is near the Leon Levine Hall of Health Sciences.

Cheryl Eddins, University Recreation’s aquatics associate director, said the SRC has worked to accommodate Watauga’s pool needs after parks and rec closed its pool.

“We’re accommodating the county swim team because the parks and rec are closed to build a new facility, so we’re doing that on Sundays and Tuesdays, and that’s the space we had that we offered them,” Eddins said.

The aquatics center’s deep end also hosts a number of other university events, such as stand up paddle boarding, water polo and paddle board yoga classes in addition to the county swim team practices, Eddins said.

Physical education classes, university swim club meetings, swim classes and men’s soccer team training take place in the aquatics center.

The shallow end is blocked off specifically for recreational swimmers, Eddins said. 

“We’re accommodating any students, faculty and staff that want to swim at anytime,” Eddins said. “So, our goal is whenever we’re open to always be open for those lap swimmer recreational swim times for all of our students.”

Silvana Bravo, a lifeguard at the SRC, said the pool is important for students and staff who take advantage of the low-impact workout opportunity. 

 “I’m the type of person that doesn’t really run or do weights, so swimming for me is my exercise,” said Bravo, a senior environmental science major. “So, I think it is important for people to have this pool facility to do their exercises.”

Corinne Cassini, an adjunct professor at the Hayes School of Music, said it is important to her that the pool is open for her workout.

“I really like the pool, and so I’d like it to be open as much as possible,” Cassini said. “I only use the pool, I walk my bike outside and I use the pool, so that’s my main reason for being (at the SRC).”

Eddins said serving students and staff who use the pool is a top priority to the aquatics facility, even as the Watauga County swim team uses the facility. 

The Watauga County swim team will use App State’s aquatic center until the new recreation center’s spring 2020 opening.