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Fix Pool Problems

Editor, News-Register:

Open letter to Ohio County school officials:

Dear Dr. Miller, Board Members and Ms. Minch:

As the parent of a child on the Wheeling Park High School Swim Team, I write to express my complete dismay and frustration with the (apparently ongoing) renovation of the Wheeling Park High School pool. As the leaders of the school system in Ohio County, you should know that what has transpired over the last several months with the renovation of the pool is completely unacceptable. You and the administrators have failed our kids.

This mess has been a comedy of errors from the start. From the very beginning of swim season, again and again, for months now, the pool has been unusable. As a result, swim team practice has been moved to other locations, canceled, or reworked as a dry-land practice. This continues to this day. We learned just this morning, again, that the pool at WPHS is not working, and that today’s practice has been moved, again, to Wheeling University. The only change in today’s news was not good: because of the problems with Wheeling Park’s pool, tonight’s meet has been canceled. As a result, our swimmers have one fewer competitive opportunity to ready themselves for the upcoming OVACs, Regionals, and States. This problem has placed Coach Pat Durkin in an untenable position. Despite the fact that this problem is not his fault, he has done more than his fair share to solve it. He has gone above and beyond to help our swimmers stay focused on their sport, and we are thankful that Coach Durkin is committed to our kids.

It is a shame that this problem has plagued the entire swim season and may, in fact, persist after the swim season ends. Recently, an Ohio County Schools administrator posted an update on the Swim Team Facebook page about the pool renovations. For many of us, this was the first real explanation of the source of the problem. While I appreciate that the administration is attempting to fix this problem, the update read like a long, drawn-out list of bureaucratic excuses. Frankly, this problem should have been fixed prior to the start of the swim season. It has not gone unnoticed that, when the Wheeling Island Stadium was in need of repairs because of crumbling bleachers, no expense was spared to fix that problem.

The problems with the swimming pool at WPHS have obviously not received similar attention.

This board recently asked the taxpayers of Ohio County to commit to spend additional tax money for our schools. My wife and I gladly supported that cause because we, like so many in Ohio County, are committed to properly equipping our school system. The Swim Team students are committed to their sport — they practice for hours, week in and week out, including early mornings over Christmas break, so that they can proudly represent Wheeling Park High School. Unfortunately, they have not received the same commitment from the administrators to fix this problem.

We have waited patiently for months for this problem to be fixed. As the problem continues to persist, we ask you, for the sake of our kids, please fix this problem!

Sincerely yours,

Brendan S. Leary

Wheeling

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