Effort to add video board at Snohomish Aquatic Center
SNOHOMISH — Imagine watching a movie while floating on an inner tube at the Snohomish Aquatic Center, or dancing in the pool at a throwback disco party.
Carol Roorbach is organizing a fundraiser to install four huge screens and an improved sound system at the aquatic center, which is owned and operated by the Snohomish School District.
The GoFundMe campaign had raised $6,000 as of last week toward its $18,000 goal.
“This would be such a positive” for the community, Roorbach said. “We’re looking to purchase four large TV screens to make a (11-foot x 6-foot) video wall that’s all one picture..”
Most importantly, a forward-facing camera would allow Claire Rhodes — the fundraiser’s inspiration — to continue teaching her popular water fit classes.
Rhodes started working at the aquatic center in 2017. By the time she moved to Arizona a couple months ago, she was teaching classes as large as 40 students six days a week.
“We just loved her,” Roorbach said. “She knew everyone’s name. She cared about everyone. She’s really something special.”
The Snohomish School District was already looking at the possibility of adding a video screen at the Aquatic Center, district spokeswoman Kristin Foley said. Since learning of the private fundraiser, the district has reached out to its organizers.
The new video setup would allow Rhodes to teach from her home in the Grand Canyon State, where she could see and talk with students in real time.
Rhodes said she would rather do that than start new classes.
“The hardest part was leaving the community of people I had taught. That’s where my heart is,” Rhodes said. “It just made sense to come up with an idea of how to carry on.”
Rhodes is a former United Kingdom disco dancing champion who later acted in a popular British TV show, toured with a Paris dance troupe and taught in Italy.
Besides teaching water aerobics and water fitness classes at the aquatic center, she created a water dance class not taught anywhere else.
“She had quite a following,” Roorbach said. “It’s been very hard to find instructors over the years at the pool. When you’ve got a great teacher and she’s willing to do it, why not go for it?”
To Rhodes, adding the capacity for remote teaching seems an obvious step. In addition to parties and movies, the video system could be used for instructor and lifeguard training.
“I have no doubt it’s not going to happen,” she said. “The people want it, the community needs it. We’ve gotta find the money.”
Any donation over $10,000 to the district will require school board approval and must follow a set of procedural guidelines and requirements, Foley said.
The campaign has 77 donors so far. Roorbach has until July 23 to hit the $18,000 goal or the contributions will be refunded.
To view the GoFundMe page, visit https://gf.me/v/c/xczm/claire-live-from-az-surround-sound-video-wall or visit tinyurl.com/snopool
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