Concord University Pool Officially Closed

Concord University, located in Athens, West Virginia has announced the closure of the school’s pool located in the Carter Center on-campus.  Although the University itself is devoid of a school swimming and/or diving program, several key swim organizations within the community use the pool and are now seeing themselves as suddenly displaced. Teams such as the C-Lions and PikeView High School swim teams utilize the pool for training and competitions and say they are now left to scramble for a new aquatic home.

The official statement released on-campus last Friday was as follows:


“In recent days, the pool has experienced some maintenance issues requiring the temporary closure of the facility. During these challenging budgetary times, we have also considered the on-going operational costs, as well as significant deferred maintenance associated with the continued operation of the pool. Therefore, until further notice, the Concord University Pool will be closed. During this time, we will be exploring additional opportunities to utilize the space to best serve our students, faculty and staff while staying true to the core mission of the university. Thank you in advance for your understanding and flexibility as we attempt to minimize the effect that this closure may have on our community.”

University President Dr. Kendra Boggess added to the statement that “There are maintenance issues, there’s the cost of operations of the pool, and what I would like them to know is we are doing the very best we can right now with the resources that we have.”  She went on to specify that, with the state’s 4% budget cut for higher education, the swimming pool “was the most obvious resource to cut.”

Lynne White, a local swim mom and registrar of the C-Lions Team, told the Bluefield Daily Telegraph that, “While actively planning our upcoming winter seasons, both teams found out only by happenstance that Concord was seriously considering closing the pool.”

Two students gave comments to the media on how the closure affects them specifically.  Pikeview sophomore Braxton Justice expressed, “I was disgusted honestly, they basically betrayed us. They didn’t mention it to our officers, they didn’t mention it to any of us.” According to teammate Callie Lamb’s perspective, “Not being able to be in the pool year round, it takes a huge toll on your fitness overall. So after giving up 12 years of your life to it, it’s kind of upsetting that you don’t get to finish out the last two years.”

As of right now, the clubs don’t know where they will be practicing, as very few alternatives exist in terms of pool space.  Tal Sutton, general chair of West Virginia Swimming, says he would like Concord University to give the swimming community a chance to help out and work through the maintenance issues.  Pikeview and C-Lions swim coach John Lamb says he personally offered to have his company rebuild the current pump for free, but that the offer was rejected.

Dr. Boggess indicated that more than just a pump replacement was needed. “We’d love to be able to open it [the pool] again, but right now we’re just not going to be able to unless something dramatic happens.”

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1 year ago

Crazy. Swimming is A Great Sport that a College with a pool should have. 30 additional students enrolled.

Wilber Jones
8 years ago

I too lament the closing of Concord’s pool. I think back on the three “Mountain Lion Invitational” swim meets, sanctioned by West Virginia Swimming, which were held in the early 80s. One of the competitors was Melvin Stewart, who later became a double Gold Medal winner in the Olympics of 1992, and who is the one who started this SwimSwam web site. He swam for Johnston Y in Charlotte. I think about some of the swimmers who swam in those meets back then and can name off the top of my head ones who later went on to swim D1 at Virginia Tech, U. of Ohio, U. of Virginia, Furman U, U of Tennessee, Miami U of Ohio, and NC… Read more »

Barbara Justice
8 years ago

Donna- thanks so much for your interest in our story and for offering to share it! If you don’t mind me asking how was your issue resolved?

Donna Hodgert
8 years ago

I feel your pain. Our school, Sweet Briar Colllege in VA almost closed for the very same reason: insurmountable costs in deferred maintenance and declining enrollment. It only takes a few fixed mind sets to not see a way out of a problem. A solution is there and you will find it so those kids can keep swimming. I will check out the Facebook page and share your story.

Barbara Justice
Reply to  Donna Hodgert
8 years ago

Thank you so much! We appreciate the help….glad your situation was resolved. We would love to have you share?

Barbara Justice
8 years ago

The Concord University pool has been the “home” pool for my children the last 10 years. Imagine our devastation to learn the pool was being closed! We are doing everything we can to get the pool reopened. Please if you are a swimmer, coach, parent or just another person who loves to swim check out our page on facebook……Save the C-Lions. We would love to have any helpful comments or opinions—-Tell us what swim means to you!!!
Save the C-Lions on Facebook!!!

About Retta Race

Retta Race

Former Masters swimmer and coach Loretta (Retta) thrives on a non-stop but productive schedule. Nowadays, that includes having just earned her MBA while working full-time in IT while owning French 75 Boutique while also providing swimming insight for BBC.

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