by Victor Lopez
ODESSA--As Odessa High swimmers get ready for a meet this weekend, parents are concerned over the conditions of their practice facilities. NewsWest 9 investigated.
It was an email to NewsWest 9 from one those concerned parents that sent us on the hunt. It says, "if you want to see the toughest athletes in Odessa, go to Ector Junior High and see the swim team facilities." That's exactly what we did and we went one step further, we talked to school officials too.
"Those are safety issues. ECISD has to do a better job than that," concerned parent, Doug Provance, said.
NewsWest 9 cameras weren't allowed inside the locker rooms, but pictures provided by Doug Provance tell the story. Cracked, jagged floor tiles, rusty lockers, peeling paint, just to name a few.
According to Provance, "The locker room facilities are abysmal. I don't see how they meet code. Duct work hanging from the ceiling. You've got mold growing from the showers. When the boys shower, it backs up into the locker room. The sewer lines aren't draining well. "
Provance says, the new swim coach had turned in a list of requested repairs when she was hired last summer. Now, half way through the school year, nothing's been done.
School officials say, they are well aware of the problem and have met with all concerned parties. Things are being addressed, just not fast enough.
Director of Communications, Mike Adkins tells NewsWest 9, "Everybody agrees, yes, there are some repairs that need to be made. I think, where we are right now is, and I understand the frustration, the process is not going as quickly as the parents would like. "
Adkins says some repairs have already been made and more are scheduled. But as the 20 - 30 work orders per week come in from the 40 different school campuses, things have to be prioritized.
The Provance Family has a history at OHS. Doug Shudders at the prospects if conditions don't get better at Ector, "If they can't upgrade this pool and the facilities and make them safe, they need to shut it down. I hate to say that. My daughter is a third generation swimmer for OHS. Her grandfather swam there. I swam there. "
Provance says booster club members and parents fear, the program will be cut all together, "I fear that too, but not above my daughter and other kid's safety, I don't."
Adkins says pulling the plug on the pool, isn't an option, "It would be a worst case scenario for everyone involved. I've never heard anybody talk about that."
School officials say this is a good opportunity for them, as a district, and the booster club to work together to fix the problems, providing a nice program and good facilities for their swimmers.