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City of Presque Isle, UMPI prepare for pool collaboration

Tuesday, 04 February 2014

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Officials with the University of Maine at Presque Isle and the City of Presque Isle are working to ensure a smooth transition for community members when the city's aquatics program begins offering its lessons at the Gentile Hall pool starting in March.

In an effort to familiarize community members with UMPI's pool, officials will be hosting two open house events—on Friday, Feb. 14 from 12:30-1:30 p.m. and on Saturday, March 1 from 4-5 p.m.—providing tours of the building, a brief orientation on how the city's aquatics programming will be offered at the UMPI facility, and an opportunity to get a wide variety of questions answered. The public is invited and encouraged to attend these free events.

"We realize this is a major transition for our local residents, who have utilized the city's indoor pool for many years," Chris Beaulieu, Presque Isle Recreation and Parks Director, said. "We appreciate everyone's understanding as we've worked to find the best solution so we could still offer our high quality aquatics programming to the community and we think people will be pleased with the pool facilities available at Gentile Hall. We're hoping that these open houses will help community members feel more comfortable with their new surroundings so we can provide the very best programming once the next round of classes and lessons starts up on March 3."

City officials are closing the municipal indoor pool, located on Mechanic St. in Presque Isle, at the end of February in an effort to cut costs and cope with losses in state revenue sharing funds. To provide the most budget-conscious programming possible, the City will focus on offering just its swimming lessons and exercise classes. It will not be able to provide general swim and lap swim times for community members, but instead encourages them to look into a Gentile Hall membership—which would be more cost effective than day passes—for those services.

Together, City and UMPI officials have worked to set up a schedule for sharing the pool facilities in the coming months. UMPI currently utilizes the pool for academic classes, health and wellness programming, and student activities, but has tried to consolidate its programming to make room for the city's aquatics needs.

"Knowing the significance of a community's aquatic program and the valuable lessons it offers particularly to its youth, UMPI felt it important to collaborate with the City to ensure that these services would still be available," Dick Gardiner, Director of Gentile Hall, said. "We expect the pool to be a very busy place this spring and we'd ask everyone to please be patient and understanding as we work to provide these services to all patrons and community members."

For more information about the City's aquatics offerings at the Gentile pool or for more details about the open house events, please call Presque Isle Recreation & Parks at 764-2545.