HACKETTSTOWN, NJ (Warren County) — Centenary University has announced that the pool at the John M. Reeves Student Recreation Center on the campus of Centenary University will close in 2019.
The University stated in a press release that the pool will close permanently on or about March 31, 2019. School officials considered a number of important factors over several months before arriving at the difficult decision to close the pool.
Among the most significant reasons were, Centenary University students have expressed the desire for additional recreational space. The University will use the space occupied by the pool to grow its intercollegiate athletic and recreational sports programs. This is part of an ongoing initiative to add new academic programs and facilities to better meet the needs of students enrolled at Centenary University.
Over the past several years, pool attendance has decreased significantly among Centenary University students and Hackettstown residents, who were invited to use the pool for recreational programs.
While attendance has decreased, the University must still financially support the pool, which currently operates at a net cost of approximately $150,000 annually for maintenance and salaries. After the pool closes, student lifeguards will be invited to transfer to other jobs on campus.
The announcement that the pool was closing prompted a significant outcry from the community and a “Keep Centenary’s Pool Open” Facebook group was quickly set up. Many members said they weren’t sure where their swim teams would go.
Hackettstown High school, West Morris Central and Warren Hills Regional High Schools use the facility.
Centenary University does not have an intercollegiate swim team, and the current pool does not meet NCAA standards for intercollegiate competition. However, several local high school swim teams, including Hackettstown High School, use the pool. The March 31 closing date will provide time for the high school swim teams to make alternate arrangements while proceeding with their upcoming competitive seasons. This closing date will also give the recreational swim programs and their participant’s time to find alternatives to the Centenary pool.
“We value the relationship we have with the Hackettstown community and thank those who have reached out for their outpouring of support for our pool,” said Centenary University President David P. Haney. “While change is always hard, Centenary University’s first priority is to devote our resources to the academic, athletic and recreational programs that best serve our students.”
While the pool will no longer be operational, the University will continue to offer other amenities to residents of Hackettstown and surrounding areas. These include complimentary use of Taylor Memorial Library, community-oriented events held on campus, sponsorship of town events including Hackettstown’s Hometown Holiday celebration and students who volunteer to assist local school students and elders. In addition, the University’s new baseball field, which is slated to break ground this fall, will be available for use by local recreation leagues and high schools.