The William L. Welch Community Swimming Pool complex has been a big splash with the public.
“This is a wonderful community pool,” said Joe Boris, who just finished his 39th year of teaching at State College Area High School. "There’s a group of us here that is just like family. It’s kind of like our social circle.”
This marks the second season for the redeveloped complex on Westerly Parkway, which underwent a $5.2 million makeover prior to a grand reopening in May 2011.
The original pool opened in 1959.
““Even though the weather has been weird, we’ve sold a lot of season passes,” said John Sumereau, who has been a manager at the pool for four years. “There are attractions here that you can’t get anywhere else in the area.
“Some people think it’s a water park at first.”
Complete with two huge water slides, a waterworks area, lap pool, diving boards, whirlpool and a “lazy river,” there is plenty available for both children and adults to enjoy.
The Welch pool also has been a popular meeting place for State College residents -- both old and new -- through the years.
“It’s great. We all thought it would be awful when they tore it up,” said Cathy Murphy, who has been coming to the pool since 1995.
Murphy’s youngest child, Sam, is now a lifeguard. Aside from the diving boards, his favorite part about the complex is the people.
“They’re mostly friendly and nice,” he said. “Everyone cares about the rules and doesn’t break them.”
Sam was on the swim team at Welch from ages 5-12. The team still practices and holds meets at the pool.
Mehnaz Jehan, of State College, has just begun taking her 7-year-old daughter, Insha, to the pool. She particularly enjoys the winding tube slides. “It’s her favorite part,” Jehan said, chuckling.
Steve and Kari Smith especially like the Welch pool because it’s close to home. The Smiths take their two small children, Lilly and Juliana, to the “toddler time” that the pool offers.
“The older kids come later on and the kids take a nap in the afternoon, so it works out perfect,” Steve said.
Steve’s favorite feature of the pool is the water works area.
“There’s so much to do under two feet,” he says.
General swimming at the Welch pool starts at 1 p.m. on weekdays and noon on weekends. Both sessions end at 8 p.m. daily.
For rates and other information on the Welch pool, as well as its sister pool, Park Forest, you can visit the Centre Region Parks and Recreation website.