FOSTERING RECREATION, EDUCATION, CULTURE AND THE ARTS

THE MADRAS AQUATIC CENTER

The Bean Foundation has a Strong base of “stewardship,” placing service to/with the community above the Foundation’s self-interests. The Foundation leadership is entrepreneurial, a means for supporting the Foundation’s commitment of stewardship into perpetuity.

Case Studies > The Madras Aquatic Center

LEADING WTIH PURPOSE

Community In Action

Jefferson County is bordered by four large bodies of water: Lake Billy Chinook, the Deschutes River, the Crooked River and the Metolius River. It is also crisscrossed by 60 to 100 miles of irrigation canals. During the hot summer months when temperatures soar toward the 100 degree mark, residents flock to these waters to cool off and enjoy some play time.

There have always been occasional drownings in these waters, but between 1996 and 2002, the number of drowning victims spiked.

There were three apparent causes for the deaths: (1) the Lake’s deep, open water and the rivers’ and irrigation canals’ fast moving currents made them particularly dangerous, (2) there were no lifeguards to help anyone who got into trouble, and (3) those that had drowned weren’t strong swimmers.

There were no swimming lessons taught in Jefferson County except for a short period at the golf course pool. That pool was closed after a few years because of the cost of upkeep. To obtain swim skills parents had to go either to Redmond or Kah-Nee-Ta, both some 80-100 miles round trip from Madras. Because of the distance, it was off-limits to those without a car and/or money to pay for gas or the cost of the swim lessons.

The need for a community pool where residents could cool off in the summer and learn to swim at modest fees had been a topic of discussion since the 1950s. Over the years, various groups had managed to get a pool bond issue placed on the ballot, but they had all failed. The 1996 to 2002 spike in drownings restarted the conversation, and the Bean Foundation decided help meet this important community need.

The Foundation had always believed it could do more to advance social and recreational opportunities for families and children by working together with public and private partners. Therefore, the foundation joined with Dr. David Evans and Dr. Carlos Kemper, both strong community advocates, to form a pool committee. Soon other partners were brought aboard—the County of Jefferson, the Chamber of Commerce, and the JC School District 509J. The Foundation agreed to donate 3.44 prime acres for the project if the community would pass a measure to create a recreation district, a levy to operate the district and a bond issue to construct the pool. The community passed the measure, levy and bond in the fall of 2004.

In 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated the Louisiana coast and led to inflated costs for building materials. That caused a shortage of funds needed to finish the pool construction and provide operational monies. Seeing the dilemma, the Bean Foundation stepped in with additional $250,000 to finish the construction of the pool. Over the next ten years, the foundation provided additional funds totaling $557,350 to help cover operational costs and help create out-of-water recreational activities for local residents.

Today the Madras Aquatic Center is one of the County’s busiest recreation venues. It features three bodies of water: a six-lane swimming pool, a competition pool, and a wading pool for small children. It has two multi-purpose dividable meeting/party rooms, an inviting lobby with fireplace and lounge area, daycare space, dressing rooms, an area for weight lifting, and a deck for sunbathers. It also provides many out-of-water programs for youth recreation. It regularly houses district swimming meets and hosts more than 50,000 visits each year.

THE NEED

Five large bodies of water are an important part of Jefferson County: Lake Billy Chinook, the Deschutes River, the Crooked River, the Metolius River and Hay Stack Reservoir. The county was also crisscrossed by miles of irrigation canals. During the hot summer months when temperatures soar toward the 100 degree mark, residents flock to these waters to cool off and enjoy some play time.

There have been occasional drowning in these waters, but between 1996 and 2002, the number of drowning victims spiked. There were three apparent causes for the deaths: (1) lack of water skills and experiences (2) the Lake’s deep, open water and the rivers’ and irrigation canals’ fast moving currents made them particularly dangerous, (3) there were no lifeguards to help if needed. There were no swimming lessons taught in Jefferson County except for a short period at the golf course pool. That pool was closed after a few years because of the cost of upkeep. To obtain swim skills parents had to go either to Redmond or Kah-Nee-Ta, both some 60-100 miles round trip from Madras area. Because of the distance, it was off-limits to those without a car and/or money to pay for gas or the cost of the swim lessons.

The need for a community pool where residents could cool off in the summer and learn to swim at modest fees had been a topic of discussion since the 1950s. Over the years, various groups had managed to get a pool bond issue placed on the ballot, but they had all failed. The 1996 to 2002 spike in drownings restarted the conversation, and the Bean Foundation decided to join in addressing this important need.

SOLUTION

The Foundation had always believed it could do more to advance social and recreational opportunities for families and children by working together with public and private partners. Therefore, the foundation joined with Dr. David Evans and Dr. Carlos Kemper, both strong community advocates, to form a pool committee. Soon other partners were brought aboard—the City of Madras, Jefferson County, the Chamber of Commerce, and the JC School District 509J. The Foundation agreed to donate 3.44 prime acres for the project if the community would pass a measure to create a recreation district, a levy to operate the district and a bond issue to construct the pool within a year. The community passed the measure, levy and bond in the fall of 2004.

It became apparent that additional funds were needed and the Bean Foundation stepped in with additional $250,000 to finish the construction of the pool. Over the next ten years, the foundation provided additional funds totaling $557,350 to help cover operational costs and help create out-of-water recreational activities for local residents.

IMPACT

Today the Madras Aquatic Center is one of the County’s busiest recreation venues. The MAC has created a swimming culture and dramatically improved the swim skills of many youth, adults and senior adults. It features three bodies of water: a six-lane swimming pool, a competition pool, and a wading pool for small children. It has two multi-purpose dividable meeting/party rooms, an inviting lobby with fireplace and lounge area, daycare space, dressing rooms, and a deck. It also provides many out-of-water programs for youth recreation. It regularly houses district swimming meets and hosts more than 50,000 visits each year.

FROM THE COMMUNITY

It’s difficult to put into words what the Bean Foundation has meant to Madras and Jefferson County. Their visionary leadership has been quietly building our community for decades, improving the quality of life of those they touch.

RICK ALLEN, FORMER MADRAS MAYOR