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The Scarlet & Black

Aquatic Center likely to be free for students this summer

By Avery Rowlison

At the end of the month, when Grinnell College is emptying out for the summer, the Grinnell Mutual Family Aquatic Center will be blasting up its two waterslides and opening its doors to community members looking for somewhere to relax in the sun.

Bradley Gordon ’12, Copy Editor for the S&B, leaps off one of the Aquatic Center’s diving boards last summer. Jerome A. Pollos.

Last summer, the College and Grinnell city officials struck a deal so that students would have free access to the water park by flashing their P-Card. Students who stayed in Grinnell for the summer were able to fully appreciate this deal, but even students who didn’t arrive until after New Student Orientation had a few chances to cool off at the park.

This coming summer, the water park will most likely again be free for students to use, according to Monica Chavez-Silva, the College’s Director of Community Enhancement & Engagement.

“[Last year,] the people at the city … came to us with this idea, to see if we were interested in purchasing a bulk pass for the students,” she said, “and their thought was that it would be a way of getting students over there a little bit more easily, and we thought that was an interesting idea too.”

Students are sure to rejoice at the possibility of being able to traverse the lazy river and read in the sun without paying a cent. Alyssa Mezochow ’11, who spent last summer in Grinnell, enjoyed the variety of activities at the pool.

“The water park was a lot of fun,” she said, “It’s great that there’s not only swimming, but there’s also the lazy river.”

Student Affairs and President’s Office split the cost of the bulk pass.

“So it was free to students, but we were still compensating the city and the pool,” said Chavez-Silva. “I always try to do whatever we can to help break the bubble, get the students out of the bubble.”

The question of whether to purchase the pass again for the upcoming summer has recently caught the attention of the President and Student Affairs offices.

“Just this week, emails started circulating around … to see if we wanted to do that again, and so far it seems like everyone is interested…but we still need to work out the details,” Chavez-Silva said, “[such as] how much they’re going to charge us, who’s going to pay what and that sort of thing, but we’d like to do it again.”

The free pass was extremely popular among students who stayed on campus last summer as well as for all students during and directly after New Student Orientation (NSO).

“Four hundred and six different students used the pool [last summer,] and a fair amount used it more than once,” said Chavez-Silva, “Last year they also did a pool party for NSO … and I expect that we’ll do that again.”

The pool will also be open at a discounted rate during RAGBRAI (the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa) this summer. Chavez-Silva said that the College plans to host some family friendly activities such as putting up the inflatables and showing a movie outdoors for the participants and their families this July when the bike ride will be coming through town.

The Grinnell Mutual Family Aquatic Center will open on May 30 of this year and remain open until at least August 24, with some additional hours until September 5, so even students who won’t be in Grinnell over the summer will get a chance to brave its infamous red slide. The Center will be open daily from noon until 7:30 p.m., with some morning hours for lap swimming.

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