Deb Bossingham recalls the cold conditions getting out of Oregon’s outdoor pool after swimming as a child.
“There was a lot of wind (in spring),” Bossingham told the Observer.
Three decades later, the Oregon Community Pool aquatics director is in charge of the pool that allows people to swim year-round regardless of Wisconsin’s fickle weather.
In the time before the indoor pool opened its doors — Wednesday, May 17, 1989 — Bossingham recalled taking lessons in an L-shaped outdoor pool where the front desks and offices are located in the current pool building.
She said she didn’t quite have the luxury of swimming in a temperature-controlled pool. She said the outdoor pool also had a high dive with a baby pool located near the shallow end — near where the pump room for the future Splash Pad is planned to be located.
Fast forward 30 years, and Bossingham presides over a facility complete with hot tub, locker room amenities, hours to suit the likes of both morning larks and night owls and a focus on community, Bossingham said.
“We aren’t really here for a profit, we are here for a community service,” Bossingham said.
More than a pool
The outdoor pool needed to be replaced due to “age and needing major repairs,” Bossingham said, and the community came together and “spearheaded” a project to open an indoor pool facility.
According to a May 1989 Observer article, the “Oregon Pool Fund Raising Committee” was working toward a pool fund goal of $300,000. A pool pledge update as of May 5, 1989, states the committee reached nearly half its goal at the time — businesses, individuals, organizations, memorials and municipal donations had totaled out to $146,129.40.
“Even though the pool project is nearing completion, the fundraising is an ongoing project,” a May 1989 Observer news blurb states.
Since then, the pool has become a place “for people to get more information about Oregon,” Bossingham said, since the village doesn’t have an active community and recreation department.
Over the years, the pool has added eight private changing rooms, replaced metal lockers with plastic ones, changed the cement material of the large pool shell from marcite to fiberglass and even changed the color scheme of the pool from an ‘80s-’90s aesthetic to be more modern, she said.
To meet the needs of visitors, the pool has also expanded its hours of operation and how many days swimmers are able to get lessons. Bossingham said lessons used to be offered only on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday. Now, swimmers can also take lessons on Sunday, with the option of private lessons on other days, she said.
“(Swimming) brings together people of all abilities,” Bossingham said.
The years to come
While the pool has maintained its focus on community service, especially with the Oregon Kids Triathlon, there’s more planned for the near future — most notably the Splash Pad, Bossingham said.
A fundraiser held April 4 by the Oregon-Brooklyn Optimist Club raised funds for the cost of the splash pad’s water features, one of the remaining items on the list of materials needed.
Fundraising for the pad began in 2016. It will likely have interactive water features and be a free destination for Oregon families to relax and enjoy the summer months — a return to an outdoor attraction that won’t eliminate the year-round offering of the community pool.
The project is estimated to cost around $750,000.
And Bossingham said as more visitors use pool facilities, finding more renewable energy sources to power the building — and maybe even getting another pool — are increasingly on staff’s radar.
She said getting a new pool would be a far off venture, however.
For information about the pools week-long anniversary festivities, call 835-8617.