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Keep negotiating pool
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Dear Editor:
I am writing to ask the parties involved in the decision about the Barton Community Colleges swimming pool to keep negotiating until a resolution can be made that will keep the pool open. I hope that the pool will stay open because I want the current and future swimmers of Barton County to have the same opportunities I had. I was a member of the Golden Belt Swim Squad for 7 years and the Great Bend High Panthers swim team for 4 years, so spent countless hours at the college pool. I loved swimming and it was by far the best part of my high school experience.
The swim team programs that use the pool (GBHS and GBSS) are stronger than ever. The kids team is one of the most popular youth activities in the county, and both the boys and girls high school teams are major competitors in the state and bring Great Bend pride and state-wide notice. Furthermore, the pool provides necessary facilities for lifeguard and swim lesson instructor trainings that staff area pools, and home swim meets bring visitors and revenue to the community. Swimming is also a sport that appeals to many kids, many of whom dont fit well into other competitive sports.  
I work in higher education, so I understand that budgets are increasingly shrinking and colleges must find ways to provide quality education with less resources. However, Barton continues to go against the trend of shrinking enrollment and maintain steady growth. I believe a swimming pool is a necessary part of maintaining an appealing campus with modern and diverse facilities. The partnership between the college and the community is beneficial to both and necessary for success. I ask all parties involved to keep working and exploring options until one is found that will keep the pool open.
Please make the swimming pool a priority.
Sarah Gonzales
North Kansas City, Mo.