Centenary Pool Closing
Centenary University has decided, with little warning, to permanently close its pool. Should this decision stand, it will come at great cost to the community. Many programs are in danger of being cut, including high school swim teams at West Morris Central, Hackettstown. and Warren Hills. The Sea Dragons swim team will be cut. Rec programs, the Warren County ARC, and programs for the military and police are in danger.
We are working to show the powers that be at Centenary what a loss to the community this would be. This decision would have the pool remain empty for this year while they make plans for what to do with the space. Instead, we should keep it open and give all of these programs a chance to survive at least this year and to get long term solutions in place.
We are asking that community members reach out to:
Dr. David Haney - President
Denton Stargel - VP Finance/CFO
Kerry Mullins - VP Student LIfe/Dean of Students
Please be respectful. Please tell your stories - from participation in programs to help from local lifeguards trained there. Help them see what a loss this will be.
I imagine it’s a business/financial decision. Do the schools and other organizations pay to use it? Maybe the fee could be raised to cover the operational costs.
Probably the same reason they sold the radio station...fewer students
i am sure this is just a financial decision. Who should pay to keep the pool open if the school cannot afford it.
I would gather they have another use in mind for the space. Perhaps inquire about reviewing the 2,5, and 10 year long range strategic plan for the University if they have one. That is if it is public knowledge.
Both the University President and CFO were at this past town council meeting. They mentioned it costs the university $150k/ year to maintain the pool.
haha good one OP.
It's a real shame though, lots of great programs there. My Mom used to swim there for years.
Residents should voice their anger. I am assume Centenary doesn't pay property taxes, but as a good "neighbor" offers value to the community with things such as the pool. Do they offer enough value otherwise?
Unfortunately, its their pool and they can do as they wish, just as they did with the radio station. This region screwed up by never obtaining a YMCA or some type of community facility. Centenary does not have to provide a pool for the local high schools and community
The pool definitely does not cost $150k to maintain- I would love to see documentation showing that. It is interesting to learn the president and other members of Centenary went to a town meeting to discuss the cost of the pool- while the people who actually use the pool were blindsided by the announcement of the closure. Centenary may be having financial problems- but it does not start and end with the pool. Several options were discussed with the college to keep the pool OPEN and running without a loss- these options were all dismissed. Community members, swim teams, etc. pay thousands to use this pool as it is the only indoor pool in our community. Pool has meant so much to so many people for decades- it is a real shame that the college will soon learn that removing this facility is a huge mistake. The college has showed little loyalty, in the last few years, to people and programs that have made Centenary thrive. There may be some underlying or hidden agendas as to why the pool is closing but we may never know the exactly reason- it certaintly is NOT due to the cost of keeping the pool open.
@Deviljet - you may not be aware of the trade offs the pool provides to the local community. Centenary does not own Tannery field- which is conviently located right at the entrance of the campus. Since Centenary does not own that field - students were unable to park in the primo parking spots located on THEIR CAMPUS. Centenarys pool offered pool time on weekends for Hackettstown residents to come swim in exchange for Centenary to be able to use that parking. I guess those parking spots are not important to the college and their students will suffer the consequences when they go to park there and receive a ticket. Yes- centenary does not have to provide for the community but when the college has had long standing deals with the community it will make community members angry.
List could go on..
I only feel strongly about this because I am a student at Centenary- I was not informed that the pool was going to close until the “final decision” was made. None of my friends at Centenary knew this either. We were not polled, no one asked our opinion, no one cares that students still have not been notified of this decision. My question is if they are cutting the pool out, what’s next?
June that was the reason the university came to town council because of the deal between the parking spots and the pool. They still need the spots
Well for someone who works there I think that is a stupid idea for them to do. But that is just my opinion.
Maybe it's old and worn out
Classof2020, get students together and protest!!
If its about parking, why don't they add a deck over their large lot? Or buy that commercial property on the other side of Grand. Win-win. College gets parking, and no more ugly tent sales :) Parking always seems to be an issue.
My guess is that part of the Athletics center is too dilapidated to fix — pool filtration and maintenance are awfully expensive — so CU might as well close it, fill it, and use it as a second gym. Which makes perfect sense if you don’t have the money to repair the pool. And extra parking spaces? Please Hackettstown. A community resource? Then let the town find the money for the upkeep. CU had other plans. That’s why everything was kept in the dark; they knew the local citizens would have a fit. Dr. Haney is no romantic — not when enrollments are down and there are bills to pay. Funny, the love/hate relationship that exists between little Htown and the college. But life goes on ...
@Bug3 the pool looks essentially the same as it did when it was built in the 60s. Anyways.. thought hackettstown was known for its historics.. great to see hundreds of people banning together to save the pool- I’m rooting for the pool to remain open!
@Classof2020 - perhaps you and your friends should attend the next town hall meeting on this? Or schedule an appointment with the president to express concerns of the students- sad to see students who pay so much tuition to a university not be kept in the loop
There's a facebook group that started over the weekend
@Mr. Meaner again if you look at pictures the pool remains essentially unchanged since it was built in the 60s. What year were you born- do you look the same as you did 60 years ago? Why do you assume the pool needs repairs? From what I heard the pool has been functioning fine..
Second gym?! Again finding stuff about my college after the fact.. our school needs lots of things but a second gym is not one of them. The gym we have now is barely used by students. If they want to make the athletic building better they should keep the pool (what college doesn’t have a pool??!?!!?) and stop getting rid of all of the coaches and other people just to save a buck.
Yet the school sends out letters to fund raise for a baseball field that will never get built. There was so much graft from prior administrations. Past facilities department helped build a pool on a department head home property on the schools dime. It’s a shame but there are community colleges that are better for a solid education than Centenary. WNTI was the best product at the school and look what they did there.
I swam in a pool at Douglass College that was from the 1920s. Kind of cool actually. Anything can be repaired. A college should have at least one pool. Especially when it becomes a University.
I wonder what percentage of Long Valley/ Hackettstown students actually attend Centenary college.
You see the posts from WMC begging for the pool, but do they actually send their children there after they graduate high school?
"Past facilities department helped build a pool on a department head home property on the schools dime" Kevin Van Orden.
That is a pretty strong statement to make. If it is accurate, I would say someone has some explaining to do.
"The pool definitely does not cost $150k to maintain"
Maybe not. That would be the cost to maintain one superintendent or principal. Without bennies, of course.
Plenty of school/government officials cost way more than that per year when you add in their golden health care benefits and pensions.
So you can actually compare a year's maintenance/benefit to an entire region to the salary of just one individual- funny when you think of it like that.
And, a dissenter as to the actual cost of the maintenance, so maybe even less than one employee.
Goes to show you just how expensive your govt employees really are...
I guess the swim programs and such will need to use the town pool during the months it is in operation and look for another location other than to soon to be closed Centenary facility in the winter months. I am sure there must be another indoor pool facility somewhere in the area. I know the YMCA in Randolph has one.
I can't imagine it would be in the best interest of Hackettstown to enter into a shared services agreement with Centenary for the use of their pool as it benefits very few from town I would bet. In addition the town has a pool albeit available in just the warmer months.
That reminds me - who won the car raffle? I bought a $50 ticket and never heard if they awarded the Jeep. I wrote to them via email and Facebook, and received no replies.
I'm still bitter over losing that really nice, substantial, albeit run-down, tennis backboard Centenary had. Taught tennis to a few kids there, it was great and now gone forever.
You can't use the town pool for what Centenary offered, an indoor pool. However, for the residential swim program in the colder months, we never saw many takers, the program was always ill-advertised and poorly managed. Was almost impossible to figure out dates, how to sign up, who to call. Almost like it didn't matter (or trying to go out of business).
While all things end, things come and go, starvation is still starvation and we had this nice filling activity and, from now on, we will go hungry. Whatever the reasons.
Too bad for Hackettstown on this one. We still have the theater. They invested and it seems to be doing well. If you haven't gone, you're missing a real treat.
@Dodgebaal I graduated from WMC and also attended Centenary- I went there with several people from my grade. There was also lots of people from other grades, as well. I know hackettstown high school has lots of students who go to Centenary too.
@strangerdanger - Sounds like you never actually tried to sign up for any program. I worked at the pool for years and also did the sign ups for the programs once. There was so many people at the sign ups that I was overwhelmed and never did it again. Lots of community members used the pool everyday. Students would use the pool at night and throughout the day between classes. The hours for the pool were always posted on the website along with the programs. If you were actually interested in any program and couldn’t find info maybe you should have physically came into the pool- I used to explain the programs all the time to people. It’s laughable to say the pool was mismanaged when it has been successful for so many years and lots of people put a lot of hard work and effort into it. Pools built almost 60 years ago do not run themselves... perhaps management made it look too easy. “Trying to go out of business” - If the pool remains open- I challenge you to sit with the lifeguards for 1 week and see just how many people use the pool- you would be surprised at the amount- there could be a couple hundred people per day depending on what programs or activities are going on.
Another thing the school fails to realize is this is hurting the current students. The pool employs many students as lifeguards who will now be out of a job.
I only graduated a few years ago- but when I was a student we had the “writhing collab” which students worked at. That has since been closed and is being replaced with a Starbucks?
Greens beans cafe the coffee shop in the library (another place for students to work) is now gone.
Criminal justice students used to be able to work as security interns.. that program is gone now too.
In my letter to the school I will stress that the school needs to remember what they are all about.. they are a university helping shape the future of their students .. by taking away so many programs and jobs they are only hurting the current students.
As a Cent student and athlete I'd actually love to see that pool turned into something more athletes could take advantage of. Aside from the wrestling team, the only other students I see in there are few and far between. The weight room upstairs is laughably small, especially when more than two sports teams are trying to work out at the same time, PLUS students, some of whom just stand around gabbing or float around using the equipment incorrectly. And anyone who says it's never in use clearly doesn't go enough or at the right times. That place is almost always crowded. Not saying I don't feel bad about the pools loss to the community if it goes; I've lifeguarded there as a student worker for two years and have noticed how well it's been utilized by the town, especially the hs swim teams. However, if Cent TRULY means to get rid of its pool, perhaps expanding on a second gym or weight room wouldn't be a bad idea. More space for students and athletes, who take up a large majority of Cent's enrollment.
“I'd actually love to see that pool turned into something more athletes could take advantage of.“
When 8/10 Americans cannot even pass a basic-skills swim test, I’d say students should take advantage of the pool to learn a potentially life-saving skill. But you can’t learn to swim overnight and I’m sure that frustrates the “gotta have it now” generation
"If you were actually interested in any program and couldn’t find info maybe you should have physically came into the pool- I used to explain the programs all the time to people." Yes, that's what we were told to do, that's what we did, that's what we told others to do. But listen to yourself, I think you said it all about "easy access."
It was Community Swim, there were a few regulars, and we went about 1pm in the afternoon, the sessions were all weekday.
It is our anecdote, our experience, and when someone like yourself explained "the system," we were OK. Did not mean to say "poor management" re pool care n maintenance, we would not have re-joined year-after-year in that case. I meant re the access issues noted above.
Think we both agree this is a nice resource, you add that they had the numbers, too bad they can't make it work. A real loss to the community, loss to student workers, and when I was in college --- couldn't beet a nice swim to get rid of those studying cobwebs. It was a gift from the college to Hackettstown --- I hope someone rethinks, rejiggers, and re-invests in the program but sounds like they didn't even get it one-more-try. And yes, we will call.
Didn't really appreciate the "generation" comment... not necessary. I actually agree that for those that can't swim, the pool is a great outlet to learn. But in my experience, most students don't want to spend their free time from classes, studying for classes, sports, and jobs down at the pool, even if it might benefit a few of them. And if they do, good for them, but not many seem to want to. Quite simply put, they might feel like they have better things to do with their time.
How can you call yourself a University if your institution cant afford a pool?
I should clarify. Community Swim but lap swimming. Perhaps that's why a lower turnout. There were people, regulars, but not a crowd. FYI.
The water exercise classes are excellent and always full. The participants are loyal, many have been signing up for years. If the pool closes many people will be cut off from a great form of exercise. I do agree that the programs available to the town were never broadly advertised. The Web site was confusing to many and gave many people the impression you could only sign up if you were a Hackettstown resident. I hope they change their minds.
Message was sent out that the pool will remain open until 03/31/2019. Thank you Centenary for your continued support of our community and allowing us to make alternative plans while the college plans for the future.
Put a dome over the pool we already have. Get more Green Acres funds since we are already dancing with the devil.
What a punishment to the community and kids. We don’t have any other indoor pool nearby to be used for swimming sports. This would be a shame.
It's simple budgeting Students are not using it and they do not have a University Swim Team. Why spend all of that money? If a home owner has a pool in the backyard and their kids are not using it anymore they usually get rid of the pool instead of throwing away money. And Centenary is expanding in other areas on campus. The University has come a very long way over the years and will be improving even more today and in the future! CU has supported our community over the years and now it's time for all of us to support them with a positive attitude.
I don't think Centenary is helped financially by the fact that it's reputation is very poor. I grew up here and I never, ever even considered applying to Centenary and I'm no Einstein. How can they attract students from across the country when they can't even get those from down the street?
Hackettstown and Long Valley should not be relying on an institution on such loose financial footing.
I had tried numerous times to get in touch with someone about swim lessons or open family swim without a response. We don't live in Hackettstown so we couldn't go. There are many ways they could keep it open as an added asset to the community but does not seem like there was much effort.
LP -- it is just sad to lose a resource for our student swim teams and our citizens. I understand money, too bad there can't be a win-win. And yes, I appreciate Centenary's commitment to the community, applaud their years of success and, if having some budget issues, trust they will come though fine. Still like to swim in the colder months.
I mean that old theater was a Legionnaire's epidemic waiting to happen, and, IMO, the quirky shows selected not much better. They doubled down, invested, the theater director lightened up, just a tad, and wow ----- what a venue, what a gem. I have seen all sorts of shows from students to off-Broadway and everyone of them grand. As I said, any Htowner who hasn't used this resource is really missing out.
Thank you, Thank you for telling us as the final date being 3.31.19. That means, CentenaryAlumni, you're up!!! Is there a place to discover the remaining programs, prices, and how to sign up? Or should we just email you from this forum? (careful what you ask for :>)
Now that some of the dust has settled and I’m out of popcorn, I’ll chime in briefly.
I would hope that those of us who live in Hackettstown or nearby and care about Centenary step up and support this institution. It’s easy to cast stones about Centenary’s shortcomings, past decision making, and leadership.
It’s even easier to set up a Facebook group, troll on here, and fire off emails to the leadership when there’s something you don’t like or feel like you’re being wronged.
Why don’t some of us email the President and ask how we can help and get involved? I like going to Centenary Stage, walking my dog through campus, and freeloading off the Hometown Holiday. But I could do better in sharing some of my time and talents because I have few treasures. Maybe there’s a community group or something already organized that I don’t know about. Anyway my two pennies.
"How can they attract students from across the country when they can't even get those from down the street? "
In all honesty, kids never want to attend the college or university they live closest to...even being in the same state they grew up in seems far too lame for many kids. Like all the students who keep Rutgers at the bottom of their list (even though it is a great school) while they wait for acceptance letters from inferior colleges out of state.
For whatever it's worth I'll always be grateful Centenary offered free internet access to all Hackettstown residents when I was without power for a week after one of the bad storms. Keeping an online business going that week was real challenge, but that was a lifesaver.
eperot, totally right. I didn't really even consider going to Rutgers. How foolish was I? Instead, off to private, out of state university that I will continue paying back for years to come.
Incidentally, Centenary had a recruiter at my office building yesterday. I'm not sure what they were recruiting for, maybe graduate or adult classes.
Not too many out of state students attend rutgers... it just a boring state school ...schools like princeton and fdu bring in people
No out of staters flocking to FDU. Very little housing as well.
10.4% of first year undergraduates at RU come from out of state... my guess is that most of those come from WAY out of state, like Asia.
So, did they give away the Jeep that the baseball team sold raffle tickets for?
Yes Reggie they announced the winner at their doubleheader on May 5th
So, how, when, where do you sign up.....or do you go to the pool and ask.....
That's the second time that someone sent me that link and it does not say that they awarded it. Unless i missed it. If so, please point that out to me.
I wrote to Scott at Centenary and also messaged them on Facebook but received no reply from either, and there has been no information on who won it or if it was actually given away.
Very suspicious Reggie. Johnson should be happy to tell you. Maybe there was small print that a minimum number of tickets had to be sold or no winner and the college keeps the money? But they should tell you.
It's on the university's website. Under news and press releases. Dated June 11.
Reggie what do you want? The actual name of the winner? Why? It clearly wasn’t you. Or are you suggesting they told everyone to come to the game because they were going to announce the winner but then never did? You really think that happened?
"The winners of the new vehicle are Rochelle Makela-Goodman and Robert Goodman of Princeton. Makela-Goodman is a 1997 Centenary graduate and member of the University’s Board of Trustees."
I'm a bit surprised that anyone associated with the school was eligible to win. Often there is a disclaimer stating employees, family members and other associates of the organization holding the raffle etc are not eligible to win.
Greg my guess would be if they excluded anyone associated with the university from buying raffle tickets then they wouldn’t have sold many tickets. Good for the winner. Just remember to pay the taxes on it :).
Thank you, Greg!
Now wondering when they will start constructing that blue field!
It wont be blue
You're welcome Reggie Voter.
Jim, I figured that was the case. Good for them!
I had a friend who won a Jeep as well through a beer distributor back in the 1990's. He sold it prior to even seeing it- as he could not afford to pay the tax on it. He didn't mind since he had a company vehicle at the time. Besides cash always fits nicely in the wallet. LOL
As a former student at Centenary it was always obvious that there was 0 interest in what is best for students/community. Most colleges/universities care more about money, and Centenary is no different. They want to close the pool and not even inform their students? No problem there! Had an awful experience there aside from a handful of professors who showed some sort of interest in their students.
Why not just build an enclosure over the existing municipal pool and make it year round?
Maybe we can use some of the new tax revenue from the wawa and quick chek to enclose the pool
how is this surprising that centenary, like every other entity, wants to make money, and thinks they know how best to do that (or at least wants the opportunity to do it themselves)? why does anyone else think they know how to run it better?
Any new updates on the status of the pool now that the president of Centenary resigned?
1 week ago
I understand that the pool will be no longer at the end of March to finish, apparently for the last time, the High School swim season.
You are right, the President resigned. But word is that the CFO says "No, the pool must go.:" What do they know about community support and marketing. Perhaps the interim President might have other ideas.
Not sure what the High Schools are doing.
But if one was interested in telling Centenary how important this is to the community, or if perhaps our Town Fathers might help ------ certainly now is the time to take one last shot at saving a great place for exercise in Hackettstown.
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