ROCK ISLAND, Ill. — Rock Island High School parents and its swim team leaders spoke out at Tuesday night's Board of Education meeting against the continued 'unusable' state of the school's pool.
Randy Veys, the Former Vice President of Rock Island High School's Swim Club and parent of a current swimmer, said the school's pool has been out of commission for over a year, and in bad shape for even longer.
"The ceilings falling in. We have to fix the pool, it sat dry for a year," he said. "[The school] really just, you know, put the pool on the back burner. They say 'oh, don't worry about it. We'll take care of the pool next time.' Then a few next times later and, yeah. It's been 'next time' since they've been telling us they were actually going to do something," said Veys.
Vey pointed out that the other sports at the high school had updates on their equipment and practice areas during that time.
"We've been told in previous conversations with school board members that they don't favor one sport more than the other," Vey said. "But if you walk on the campus, there's a new building that houses wrestling. It used to be the VO tech building. There's new tennis courts, the stadium looks phenomenal,"
Rock Island High School swim coach David Busch echoed Vey's concerns, saying he'd seen a drop in team numbers since they had to start traveling to other places to practice.
"I started coaching at Rock Island five years ago, we'd have over we had 20 girls swimming and 20 boys swimming. Last year, the boys took a tumble, and this year, the girls took a tumble in numbers."
Busch said that because of the change of location, not only do swimmers need to find transportation to practice, but the hours have changed.
"We practice till nine o'clock at night most nights. It is really late."
Currently, both the girls' and boys' swim teams use Augustana's pool, but they have to wait for certain time slots to open. Busch said those time slots normally end up later in the night, despite how early students need to wake up for school.
"The longer we wait, the more it's going to cost," Vey said. "So not just in the cost of the pool, but to the city, the school the community. That is frustrating."
Rock Island's Board of Education later released a statement, which reads:
"The BOE decision not to fund this project currently does not mean that Swimming and Diving for RIHS will stop. We expect that the administration will continue to work with our partners to hammer out agreements so the RIHS Swimming and Diving teams will have seasons going forward until the pool situation is resolved."