Kent County Unwilling To Share Chesapeake College Costs

Kent County seems unwilling to share in the proposed $2.3-million cost of a new Chesapeake College physical education building that is to include a competition-quality swimming pool. The Board of County Commissioners did not take a final vote on the issue, but they seemed to agree that the county should not spend money on a facility that is not likely to see much use by Kent County residents. They pointed out that Kent is building its own pool as part of a $9-million community center complex at Worton.

The commissioners discussed the issue at a meeting with college President Dr. Barbara Viniar and Vice President for Administrative Services Mike Kilgus. They told the commissioners that most pool users are from Queen Anne’s County, where the college is located. Viniar has said the existing pool is 35 years old and has reached the age where repairs and maintenance are prohibitive. She said that while the pool meets safety standards for pools of its age, it does not meet those in place for pools being built today. The pool is at issue in a dispute between Viniar and the Queen Anne’s County commissioners, who have blamed the school for allowing the pool to deteriorate. They are insisting a new pool be part of the proposed new Physical Education building.

Under a cost-sharing arrangement with other counties in the mid-Shore region Queen Anne’s, Talbot, Caroline and Dorchester, Kent is being asked to contribute $600,000 toward the cost of the new complex. Kent’s commissioners made it plain that the answer would be no. Commissioner Ron Fithian said that the lack of Kent County use of the pool is a pretty compelling reason not to contribute. At the suggestion of Board President Roy Crow, the board agreed to meet with the other mid-Shore counties to find a way to move forward with a plan that most likely wont include a pool.