This weekend, the 2015 season of the Sand Springs Recreational Center will begin with a splash, according to the new executive director of the organization Geraldine Shen, who is the first ever permanent director of the facility since a fundraising campaign allowed a cluster of residents to buy the facility.
Shen said that she has a feeling to create a big impact on the organization’s direction. Shen took the office in March and recently worked at the Williams College as a development manager. She spoke of her strong desire in building community connections with the local schools, businesses, and organizations, emphasizing her desire to grow membership, while making the facility more hospitable. She wanted the recreation center to be a place for the entire county, not only for the city and local community members, she said.
This year’s season begins with the “Big Splash Carnival” this Sunday from noon up to 4 in the afternoon. The theme of the event will be the old-time carnival, featuring live music, a bounce house, and a wide array of food for families. The Big Splash Carnival costs 35 dollars per family or 10 dollars per person, although financial aid will also be available.
The center’s pool and spa amenities have a long history that dates back to when the area turned into a resort circa 1813, when the travelers from the northeast region were believed to visit the area. It has been the only thermal springs within the region, wherein 72-degrees of water come up all year-round.
In 1907, the Wampanaug Inn and Bath House was built, but was acquired in 1950 by the George family who ran the center for over 50 years. The family sold the facility in 2003 to Wampanaug Springs Inc. Since then, the center has gone many upgrades and updates under the new owners, although in 2008, it was placed on the market.
Over 300 individuals donated to a fundraising campaign that was instigated by residents in 2011, raising $550,000 for the purchase. Hence, the pool was bought in July 2013. The facility today is incorporated as a 501 (c) (3) organization and with a board of directors. According to its website, the center’s goal is to build a community gathering area when people can indulge in the natural spring waters, fitness and outdoor recreation.
Besides the pool and sauna, there is now a new indoor community space, providing an area to just sit and relax. More updates are coming such as the Annual Town Meeting, which has an approved $27,207 in Community Preservation Act funding for installing a pool lift and a heater. Additionally, it also hosts the Samuelson Swim Academy.
As a graduate from William College, Shen moved back to the city in 2010, along with her husband and have 2 young children of their own. Shen expressed her appreciation, regarding the community, considering it as a wonderful place in raising a family.
Together with her husband, Shen purchased a season membership in 2013 when the pool re-opened; saying that having such a gathering place is really nice for the entire community.