Shawnee school district raises more than $2,700 for new Municipal Pool.

Shawnee Mayor Wes Mainord says the diversity of financial supporters for the new municipal pool has proven that interest is at an all time high.

“We’ve received private donations anywhere from $20 up to several thousand dollars,” he said. But it was a phone call from school Superintendent Marc Moore that got the pool committee even more excited.

“Dr. Moore called and wanted to involve his students in a fundraising project for the new pool,” Mainord said.

“He wanted to educate students by stressing the importance of community involvement.” So a week-long voluntary Coin Drive was arranged at school sites whereby students could drop loose coins in a donation bucket. The result was a total surprise to the pool committee responsible for overseeing the pool’s fundraising efforts.

The campaign ran for one week and raised $2,752.93. When pool committee Chairman John Ayers heard the tally he couldn’t believe it. “We had no idea their Coin Drive would raise this much,” he said. “We were just excited that the school district reached out to us and wanted to participate. It emphasized, even more, community support for this project and we can’t thank them enough for helping make the new pool a reality.”

One school in particular rose to the challenge by raising $1,300, almost half of the entire Coin Drive. It came as no surprise to Jefferson Elementary School Principal Vickie Penson.

“Our students and faculty are very excited about this city project. Teachers and staff each gave $10, but it was our students who contributed the biggest chunk,” she said. “They can hardly wait to jump right in. Several first grade students in Mrs. Cappo’s class thought that if they brought coins, they would be swimming in the pool next week.”

Other faculty members had similar stories. Music teacher Sherri Thompson stated that “students would walk by the Coin Drive display in our hallway and stare in awe at the poster depicting the new pool.”

According to Ayers, these students will look back with fond memories of helping with fundraising and, of course, enjoying the facility. “Seeing their faces, even before the pool is built, makes the hard work of the committee worthwhile. They, too, will have the opportunity to watch it being constructed and know they played a key role.”

The pool committee has been responsible for raising $1,233,200 of the total ($4,233,200) project cost. To date, they are shy $50,000 of meeting that goal, and matching a challenge grant by the Avedis Foundation. The foundation gave the pool committee an early shot in the arm with a $616,600 challenge grant; half of their fundraising goal. “Thanks to the generosity of Avedis and the Shawnee school students and others, we’re getting very close,” said Ayers.

Many individuals have contributed to the pool – but only a handful of businesses, which has been somewhat of a surprise to the committee. “We expected more companies to step forward, many of whom will directly benefit from this project. We’re all in this together to improve Shawnee and it’s going to be a tremendous asset that the entire community can, and will, be proud of,” he said.

“It’s going to particularly enhance the downtown area and serve as a catalyst for future economic development. Not to mention all the families drawn to the new facility inside and outside Shawnee. We plan to start construction soon and would like to have our fundraising wrapped up by the end of February.”

“I think the comment made by Mayor Mainord sums it up best: ‘If 50 businesses would just donate $1,000 we’d be done tomorrow!’”

Donations to the new pool are tax deductible. To contribute, mail checks to: Shawnee Community Foundation, c/o Municipal Pool, 1421 E. 45th Street, Shawnee, OK 74804. For questions, please call 481-0562.