WILLIAMSTOWN -- A group founded to purchase the historic Sand Springs thermal pool announced it has reached its $550,000 fundraising goal and that it expects the facility to reopen on July 15.
The nonprofit Sand Springs Recreational Center (SSRC) has collected just over $550,000 to purchase the pool from the current owners, Wampanaug Springs, and create a member-supported recreation facility.
"I couldn't be happier," SSRC President Janette Dudley said Thursday. "I'm incredibly grateful for all our donors who came through for us to help turn our vision into a reality."
About 300 people donated to the cause, she said, with gifts ranging from $5 to a $82,000 lead donation from SSRC Trustee Josiah Low and his wife, Penny, both Williamstown residents.
The site is one of the few thermal pools in the Northeast, with water flowing to the surface at an average temperature of 72 degrees year-round. The Wampanaug Inn and Bath House was built at the site in 1907. The George family purchased the property in 1950 and operated it until 2003, when it was sold to Wampanaug Springs, Inc. The facility was renovated during Wampanaug's ownership, and the owners, Michael and Amy Patten of Redstone properties, placed the property on the market in 2008.
Dudley and other residents began holding informal meetings in 2011 to look into saving it, leading to the founding of SSRC in December 2011 and the launching of a capital campaign in March 2012.
The group has held informational meetings, created a video and sent out mailers to raise awareness of the cause.
Dudley said when the facility opens next month, people can expect a fully functioning recreational center with a pool, outdoor basketball court, a fitness center, a hot tub and a sauna. Also included will be a cafe serving salads, sandwiches and healthy snacks.
Dudley said the board of trustees envisions the recreational center serving all of Northern Berkshire, not just Williamstown.
"We hope it will be a place where people can come and relax, meet new friends and old friends, and enjoy what the Berkshires has to offer," she said.
A scholarship fund has been established, Dudley said, to make swimming lessons available to those who might not be able to afford them.
Olympic gold-medalist and Williamstown resident Samantha Livingstone, will be an advisor and instructor of the Samuelson Swim Academy, and Nicholas Stone, assistant swim coach at Williams College, will be an instructor. she said.
The board of trustees are committed to keeping the center affordable for families, Dudley said.
"A family will spend less for an entire day at the pool than a trip to the movies," she said.
Daily rates will be $10 for adults, $8 for children ages five to 18, $5 for kids under age 5, and $8 for seniors.
A two-week membership is available for $60 per person and a seasonal membership costs $495.
For more information about SSRC, the history of the property, and membership, visit www.sandspringspool.org.
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