TEXAS CITY  — When it comes to determining the future of the pool at College of the Mainland, finding the leak is the top priority for the college’s trustees.

Once officials figure out where the water is leaking — and how much it will cost to fix it — then they can decide it they want to move ahead with making the estimated nearly $300,000 in repairs needed at the 42-year-old pool, said College of the Mainland Trustee Nick Stepchinski.

“The leak is the primary thing,” he said.

The pool, which was closed in May, holds about 180,000 to 200,000 gallons of water and is leaking about 3,600 gallons of water a day, according to the college.

Trustees got a look at the pool Monday morning as part of a workshop committee meeting. The trustees followed Charles King, the college’s director of facilities and maintenance, as he went over the needed repairs.

According to a rough estimate, replacing the heater could cost about $240,000, and that’s just one of 14 repairs that must be made that include replacing filters, fixing and updating machinery in the pool’s control room, repairing tiles in and around the pool and replacing old valves, among other things, King said.

A new heater and air conditioning system could be the single most expensive issue. A new system that would heat the pool and air-condition the building could cost about $240,000, according to the college’s early estimates.

King said he also has attempted to find the leak, which is likely in the pipes around the pool, but had not been successful in finding it.

King said San Jacinto College had a pool that was similar in age and had similar issues with leaks and other problems.

“They shut their pool down two years ago,” he said.

But at least some local residents and avid swimmers do not want to see the pool closed.

“Swimming is my life,” said 75-year-old Hershel Glanz.

Glanz became emotional when telling the trustees about the benefits of swimming. Glanz said he has been a swim coach at four different colleges, including College of the Mainland, and in that time has helped people regain their mobility and strength through swimming.

“Swimming improves the quality of life not only for elderly people but for everybody,” he said.

David Leisey also said he supported finding a way to keep the college’s pool open.

Leisey said he swam a mile a day and because of problems with his knees, he needed the pool to be able to work out.

“I paid taxes my whole life to be able, now that I’m retired, to be able to swim here,” he said. “How dare them consider closing the pool.”

Stepchinski said the trustees would continue discussing the pool at their budget workshop meeting Friday. King said he will also be looking into finding companies capable of finding the leak and repairing it.  

“We all would like to have (the pool),” Stepchinski said “It just depends on if we can do it.”

At a glance

WHAT: The College of the Mainland Board of Tustees budget workshop

WHEN: 9 a.m. Friday

WHERE: Appomattox room, 1200 Amburn Road, in Texas City

Contact reporter Christopher Smith Gonzalez at 409-683-5314 or chris.gonzalez@galvnews.com.

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