Niskayuna

Niskayuna preparing to reopen school facilities to community

The Niskayuna High School girls swim team practices in the swimming pool Thursday. The school district is working toward reopening it to the public.
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The Niskayuna High School girls swim team practices in the swimming pool Thursday. The school district is working toward reopening it to the public.

The Niskayuna Central School District is working on logistical issues in order to open school facilities – the high school pool, for example – to the community. 

The facilities have been closed due to the pandemic.

But working through those issues will take some time, said Matt Leon, a spokesperson for the district.

“We recognize what a valuable asset our facilities are to the community and we are glad to be moving toward greater use of them after such a long period,” Leon said.

Reopening school facilities was a topic of discussion brought up at the school board’s last meeting on Sept. 14. 

“Not opening the pool is contrary or contradictory to what other schools are doing,” said Libbie Coccocia, who has two kids in the district. 

She, like other speakers, brought up that the whole basis for funding the pool was that it would be open to the public. 

Student representative Vera Amirbekian said having the pool closed can affect the future of student swimmers, even some currently on the school teams. Amirbekian said 25% of the girl’s varsity team is on the Starfish Swim Club, while 50% of the boy’s team also participates in Starfish. She said being on the Starfish team allows the students to practice even more, but currently Starfish swimmers must travel 40 to 45 minutes to other pools to practice. 

Other residents like Mark Schmidt said there are other benefits to having the pool open, including the additional fitness option available to residents.

“We have an extremely athletic community here,” he said.  

He also said it’s a good asset for physical therapy.

Some of the logistical issues the district is working through include making sure the school is able to clean properly, has a scheduling mechanism in place and that the safety director and school physician review the plan for community use and have procedures in place for reviewing safety plans for organizations.

“We also have to look at staffing, including lifeguards, as it relates to the pool,” Leon said.

The school district is looking to open the pool for community swim, so any resident can purchase a pass to use the pool, Leon said. The school district also wants to open other facilities, like the gym. 

Leon said those facilities would be open on weekends and weekday nights depending on space and cleaning availability. 

He said the school board will receive an update at its Oct. 5 meeting on where the district stands with addressing those issues. 

“At that point we will have a much better idea of the timeline,” Leon said.

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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