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Pequa’s proposal to build a pool at Berner Middle School

Provided by: Jonathan Seeback

Provided by: Jonathan Seeback

Jonathan Seeback, Staff Writer

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While the majority of high schools on Long Island have a swim team, comparatively few school districts have a pool in which teams can practice and compete. Currently, Massapequa is not one of those lucky few districts, but that may soon be changing.
Following future public meetings, the Board of Education will put the proposal of a pool at Berner Middle School to vote alongside the budget vote. “Residents can voice their comments, concerns, and ask questions at meetings,” Deputy Superintendent Mr. Alan Adcock said. “The school district will not proceed unless they have the community’s support.”
The pool could include a variety of benefits such as being a place where the swim team can practice and have meets, thus giving the Massapequa Swim Team a homefield that it has never had.
The center could also be used by the town for special events as well as a unit in gym at Berner Middle School.
Currently, the idea of a pool at Berner sounds much more of a reality than a rumor.
Director of Facilities and Operations Mr. Tim O’Donnell said it would take “around three years to complete the construction of an aquatics center at Berner Middle School”.
According to Mr O’Donnell, if this proposal is passed, it would take a few months to create designs, then twelve to sixteen weeks for approval. It would be the winter of 2018 by the time they get this far. Next would be the bidding process, which would take around six weeks. The construction would finally start in the summer of 2019 and would take around a year to finish. This entire project is estimated to cost around 14.5 million dollars. The funding for the pool would come from a bond.
The pool has the potential to make practices and competitions more advantageous for the Massapequa swim team.
“It would be way more convenient for my team and my students,” Massapequa varsity swim coach Mr. Jeremy Cuebas said. “It would make it so much easier for my players to juggle their time, practice, school work, and outside commitments such as club swim.”
Mr. Cuebas said that the pool would increase the practice time for his students and strengthen the program so that more kids could swim.
“Kids struggle with the long practice time and balancing their homework and out of school commitments,” Coach Cuebas said. “The pool being built here would definitely aid in helping the students and making it overall much more convenient for myself, the students, and the program as a whole.”
Of course with every proposition, not everyone believes that this pool is necessary.
Local juniors Marco Musso and Julia Rossello both disagree with the creation of the pool at Berner.
“I don’t think that Berner should receive a pool because the cost of it would be way too much and I don’t think there’s enough room for a pool there,” Marco said.
“I believe that Berner shouldn’t have a swimming pool because the cost would be way too excessive,” Julia said. “Meanwhile, there are many other problems and issues that need to be attended to and I don’t think we should prioritize a pool over other more detrimental things.”
On the other hand, many students agree with building an aquatics center at Berner.
MHS Senior Co-captains Jimmy Aird, Sean Maurer, and Michael Cowan are all on board with the construction of a pool at Berner.
Jimmy Aird has been swimming since he was ten years old. He feels very strongly about the construction of the center at Berner.
“I would like to see Massapequa have a pool one day because all of the great opportunities it could provide to the community and its students,” Jimmy said.
Jimmy has an extremely strong passion for swim and for the program here in Massapequa. He remembers being a freshman and experiencing a wonderful culture of the upperclassmen helping the lower classmen. Now he’s in the shoes of the latter and wants to return the favor.
Sean Maurer has been swimming for as long as he can remember and has been active in the swim community here in Massapequa for years and believes we should have a pool at Berner.
“Your kid could be the next Michael Phelps and you would never know because there’s no pool at ‘Pequa,” Sean said.
Sean is also a very committed person to the swim program. He has been on the swim team since his freshman year and has a very similar mentalility to that of Jimmy. He hopes that one day kids on the team wouldn’t have to deal with all the stress that having practice in Brentwood causes all the players.
Michael Cowan has been swimming for over ten years now and firmly believes that having a pool in Massapequa for the team to use for practice would be a phenomenal thing for the program.
“The pool at ‘pequa would benefit the future development of the swim program here,” he said.
Michael has a large influence on the team. He really takes pride in his position as a captain and tries his very best to make a path for his teammates to follow. He believes that having a pool in Massapequa for the team to use for practice would be beneficial for the program and would ultimately bring more attention and strengthen it as a whole.
Overall, the Massapequa Aquatic center is no longer just an idea, it can become a reality.
“The convenience of the pool would help our students, the team, and our program as a whole to strengthen and grow here in Massapequa,¨ Coach Cuebas said.
In the end, it’s all up to the voters of Massapequa to decide whether Berner will have a swimming pool and the swim teams a homefield. If the proposal is passed, the pool would be an interesting addition to Massapequa athletics.

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Pequa’s proposal to build a pool at Berner Middle School