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Community fighting to ‘Stay in the Swim’

PILOT MOUNTAIN — When the Edward M. Armfield Sr. Civic and Recreation Center sent out a call to action regarding one of the center’s most beloved features, the community responded in full force.

Armfield Civic Center Director Leah Tunstall sent a letter to members in late September to inform them that the William G. Reid Competition Pool was in danger of closing in the spring of 2021.

The dehumidification system for the pool, which Tunstall said provides a safe environment for swimmers, spectators and families, has exceeded its lifetime. A new system is required to continue safe operation of the facility.

“The ACC pool is an extremely vital component of Surry County,” Tunstall said. “As one of only two indoor competition pools in the area, the pool endures heavy usage year-round. Even if you personally do not use the pool, it is highly likely that someone you know does.”

In addition to providing swim lessons, lap swimming, water aerobics and water walking to members, the pool is also home to the PAC Swimming, a year-round USA Swim team, Armfield Summer League swimming and six local school programs: East Surry High, Surry Central High, Pilot Mountain Middle, Central Middle, Meadowview Middle and Gentry Middle.

“The loss of this pool would be devastating to the Pilot Mountain Community and greater Surry County,” Tunstall said.

The pool will remain open through the winter, but would not be able to function safely when spring rolls around.

After gathering quotes and taking bids for replacing the overworked dehumidification system, the Civic Center announced it needed to raise approximately $265,000. Half needs to be raised by the end of 2020 and the remainder by May 2021.

A small committee consisting Tunstall, Christopher Cooke, and Kelly and Andy Hull was formed to spearhead the fundraising campaign,

As of Oct. 30, $73,000 has been raised to save the pool. Fundraising efforts range from donations to food sales to an upcoming competition.

Three PAC swimmers even did a radio interview on 100.9 WIFM with Gary York to promote the cause.

Donations can be made in these ways:

– Mail or drop off a donation to the Armfield Civic Center at 873 West 52 Bypass, Pilot Mountain, NC 27041 Attn: Pool Fund

– Drop a donation off at the Pilot Mountain Branch of Surrey Bank & Trust (designated ACC Pool Fund

– Make a credit/debit card donation via www.armfieldcenter.com

Another opportunity to donate is by paying $50 to have a personalized fish painted on the donor wall. Fish will be painted by local artists Cassidy Hull and Marcy Marion.

Hull reported that the group just finished selling butter braids. More than 435 units were sold, raking in more than $2,600 for the cause.

The center partnered with 13 Bones for a barbecue chicken benefit on Friday, Nov. 20 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Plates are $10 and include BBQ chicken, slaw, baked beans and a roll.

Plates can be picked up at the Civic Center or delivered free with the purchase of more than five plates.

The final event currently scheduled to take place in 2020 is the ACC Mile Swim competition. The event is tentatively scheduled for December and is open to the public.

Each participant will receive a shirt and be eligible for prizes. Limits will be placed on the amount of people in the pool area due to COVID regulation, but specific numbers haven’t been established yet.

Any PAC swimmer that finishes faster than Dr. Jeff Tunstall will win a reward.

The ACC Mile Swim will also be held virtually. Anyone is able to go to their community pool and take part. In fact, Hull said there is a former PAC swimmer living in Singapore that plans to compete.

Stay in the Swim ACC is on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

For additional information, contact Leah Tunstall at 336-368-2012 or email Leah.Tunstall@armfieldcenter.com

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Source: https://www.mtairynews.com

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