Limestone school sets reopening date for Aroostook’s largest swimming pool

2 weeks ago

LIMESTONE, Maine – After being closed for more than a year, community members will once again enjoy Limestone’s public indoor pool, known as the largest swimming arena in The County.

Located inside Limestone Community School, the junior Olympic-sized pool measures 75 feet by 42 feet and can hold 145,000 gallons of water. Limestone is the only school district north of Bangor to have its own swimming pool, and the facility was once a popular spot for local swim meets. 

In January 2023, school leaders closed the pool after discovering corroded plumbing and realizing that the 1970s-era facility needed a complete overhaul. The school and town spent $385,000 to replace the pool and dealt with several delays in parts manufacturing and shipping. Most recently, a lack of lifeguard applicants pushed back the pool’s reopening date.

Now, Limestone Community School is ready to open the pool Sunday, April 7 with a grand opening event and general swim hours from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. that day.

Aquatic Center Coordinator Mariah Havens has hired three lifeguards, and she will also serve as a lifeguard when needed. Havens will be teaching two lifeguard courses in April and expects five other people to earn their recertifications. 

The town’s Select Board has agreed to let the recreation department budget cover $20,000 for lifeguard training and salaries, which the school expects to cost $19,380 before the current fiscal year ends June 30. After that, the school anticipates the pool’s operations to cost $40,980 each fiscal year.

Havens was hired last month and will continue serving as a residential instructor for the Maine School of Science and Mathematics, which shares a building with Limestone Community School. She has been a lifeguard and water safety instructor for 15 years, a lifeguard instructor for 14 years and taught aquatics fitness for three years before Limestone’s pool closed.

Starting April 9, the pool will be open for general swimming Tuesday, Thursday and Friday 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Saturday 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and for lap swimming Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. Community members can schedule private events outside the pool’s general hours on the weekend.

Havens is looking to set up a water safety course that would allow Limestone’s physical education teacher, Kelsey Churchill, to become a certified children’s aquatics instructor. If more people become trained, the pool could offer swimming lessons to the public.

In the next year, Havens said she’ll offer aquatics classes to MSSM students and explore ways to teach students of all ages about kayaking and canoeing. MSSM’s summer camp will also use the pool.

Most of all, Havens sees the pool as an asset to the local community.

“It will give families another activity they could do in the winter and summer,” Havens said. “Girl or Boy Scout troops can use the pool for earning badges. Churches, homeschool groups, recreation departments and other groups can rent the pool.”