Saturday, August 24, 2013

School Pool Covered Over After Drowning

Shreveport Times [LA]
23 August 2013

Written by John Andrew Prime

[Instructor] Lisa Levermann stomps on the wooden floor of the dance studio at the rear of C.E. Byrd High School and the echo is like that of a big bass drum, deep and hollow, like a mournful moan from the beyond.

In a way, it is. The studio floor was built on top of an ornate pool in 1937, some say after a drowning there. […]

As for the girl said to have drowned, and the pool, most who have looked into it think it had to do with money. Some accounts say the Olympic-sized pool, shown on the original plans for the school now on file at LSUS, was salt-water, which due to the corrosive nature of the water are much more expensive to maintain. That, and no pool was planned for Fair Park High School, so fairness issues came up as well.

According to the official school publication “Glimpses of the City of Byrd,” in spite of the Great Depression, “a modest building and renovation program occurred at Byrd in the 1930s. The Caddo Parish School Board agreed to the construction of tennis courts, lighting of the football field, adding a music room, and in 1937 flooring the swimming pool so a gym could be installed.”

Principal Jerry Badgely […] thinks an additional concern influenced closing the pool.

“Polio was a big concern and that may have weighed in,” he said. “It’s not a concern any more. It was probably as much a maintenance issue as anything. You have to look at the trade off. What we got out of it was a gymnasium that wasn't part of the school when it was built.” […]