Midlothian Students & Parents Plead With City Council To Move Forward With Community Pool

collage of male and female swimmers with medals
Photo Midlothian ISD Athletics Facebook

Parents Ask City Council To Be The Hero For Students Competing On the Swim Team

MIDLOTHIAN – One student and several parents spoke at the city council meeting earlier this week regarding the need for a swimming pool. This was the third consecutive day students/parents addressed city/school officials about the critical need for a pool for swim practice.

After the Main Street gym shut down their pool, where students were getting their swim practice, they have been driving to Duncanville to practice. Losing a local pool to practice in, has cut the swim team members short of 165 hours missed in practice time.

At Sunday’s teen meeting with Midlothian Mayor Richard Reno, the student who spoke during public comment Tuesday night said she left the meeting with the mayor feeling “unheard.”

At the meeting a Mom spoke, stating she was there on behalf of her daughter who was unable to attend because she was playing softball. She told the council she wanted to paint them a picture to illustrate the emotional rollercoaster swim team members and their parents experienced this season.

“These kids missed an entire month at the beginning of the school year. That is 36+ hours they didn’t get that their competitors got.”

She went on to describe the pain and ‘devastation’ parents and coaches witnessed when kids barely missed winning a meet or qualifying by only a tenth of a second. She shared how parents feel helpless as they watch their kids crying and the Coach hugging them tight trying to offer comfort.

“They need a hero. These kids need you guys. They need you to move heaven and earth for them. The Coach has already moved Heaven and earth two times over. They hit every roadblock imaginable. In the first month they pushed desks aside and worked out in the classroom.”

Despite the challenges, many of the kids made it to regionals and one swimmer made it to state, as the parent said a testament to how invested the coaches and swimmers are.

“They need a hero and they need you to fight for them. They can’t keep going back and forth to the school board.”

Heritage swim team group photo
Photo credit Heritage High School Facebook

When Will Midlothian Build The Rec Center?

Students were told to talk to Midlothian ISD about the situation and in turn, the ISD told the students it was a community issue.

Midlothian Mayor Pro Tem Justin Coffman said at this point there is nothing residents can do to help when it comes to not having an available swimming pool for the high school swim team.

According to the 2021 State of the City, “the design and building process for the Rec Center facility will begin summer 2022.” Unfortunately the pandemic has had an impact on timing of bond projects and all construction. While the City Hall/library project and new public safety building recently began construction, the timing on the rec center is still to be determined.

Coffman says “To this date, no issuance of bond funding for the Rec center has been issued. There is a balance to the timing of bond issuance – no matter the project – if you desire to keep the tax rate low. If debt is issued at too rapid of a rate, it could cause the tax rate to increase, so timing is everything.  The two things – tax rate and debt – are directly tied together.”

The idea of the local YMCA being part of the project has also been rumored, but Coffman added “The YMCA could be contracted to run the operations and programming of the center, but nothing is official at this point.”

2021 Bond Project C: Voters approved the issuance of bonds in the amount of $19,000,000 to construct a community recreation center. Center would be operated as a family membership facility and would serve a multi-generational membership. Programs and services have been envisioned in partnership with the YMCA, which would assume responsibility for day-to-day operations of the facility. Amenities would include fitness and exercise spaces and gymnasium facilities, senior citizen exercise programs, indoor and outdoor pools, a splash pad, child watch center, wellness center, and locker rooms.