Diving into the shallow end

Even with a two-week buffer for completion of the Steven E. Schofield Aquatic Center, it appears that students won’t be swimming laps anytime soon at Pierce College.

It was reported in the March 4 edition of the Roundup, that the new Aquatic Center — located between the North and South gyms — would open April 1.

Initially, the competition pool and the wellness pool were to be finished by Nov. 30, 2008. It would mean that they would be available for the start of the swimming and diving season, with time to spare. November came and went, and still no pools.

The next missed completion date was in February.  There was still enough time for the swimming and diving team to have a few home meets but more importantly, the pool would be open in time for the spring semester. Swimming classes were scheduled so students could get their P.E. credit, which is a graduation requirement.

The swim team had already moved their meets elsewhere and spent the season practicing 11 miles away at L.A. Valley College — our cross-town rivals.

But what about classes? April 14 was the latest possible date for them to begin, according to Bill Norton, physical education department chairman. If that didn’t happen, they would be canceled, leaving all registered students in limbo.

Pierce President Robert Garber said that the delays were due in part to replacing leaky, asbestos-covered pipes, and he promised that students who’d registered and paid for swim classes would be refunded.

He also said that the school would work with graduating students on a case-by-case basis.

Construction projects are rarely completed on time. Just look around campus. In addition to the Aquatic Center, the North Gym and the new Center for the Sciences are running behind schedule. Knowing that construction is unpredictable, why promise classes if they couldn’t be guaranteed?

As students, we meticulously plan our school schedules according to graduation and/or insurance needs. At the end of the semester, the last thing we should be worrying about is the class and credit we were promised.

July 1 is the new date the Aquatic Center is set to open, but don’t hold your breath. If you’re hoping to find relief from the oppressive summer temperatures by swimming at Pierce, have a back-up plan.

(Raquel Martinez / Special to the Roundup)

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