Flagler Fluid offers to run Belle Terre Swim and Racquet Club

The swim club would rent the facility and market it for student use while keeping it open to the public during school hours.

Kaiden Smith and Braily Guterrez take a dip at the Belle Terre Swim and Racquet Club open house on June 25, 2023. File photo by Brent Woronoff
Kaiden Smith and Braily Guterrez take a dip at the Belle Terre Swim and Racquet Club open house on June 25, 2023. File photo by Brent Woronoff
Photo by David McMillan
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Flagler Fluid Swimming would like to take over operations of the Belle Terre Swim and Racquet Club.

Carrie Purdy, owner and coach of Flagler Fluid swim club spoke to the Flagler County School Board during public comment at the board’s workshop on May 7, offering to run the facility. Flagler Fluid would provide swim lessons and after-school programs for students and also offer gym memberships and swim programs for adults during school hours, she said.

The School Board voted 3-2 to discontinue public gym and pool memberships at the facility at the end of June. After its contracts run out with insurance companies that provide gym use for their customers, the board plans to close the gym and maintain the pool for student use and rentals. Currently, Flagler Fluid and the Synchro Belles artistic swimming club rent the pool.

Flagler Fluid wants to flip the model and rent the entire facility from the School Board.

“I believe in honoring that facility for (the purpose) it was given to (the school district),” Purdy said during an interview with the Observer.

Purdy said she had briefly discussed the possibility with School Board Chair Will Furry and emailed the entire board with a proposal before she spoke at the workshop, but she had not yet received a reply. By policy, board members are not allowed to respond to speakers during public comment time.

Speaking to the Observer, Purdy said Flagler Fluid would propose a five-year contract, paying rent on a sliding scale. The club would pay 20% of the facility’s operation costs the first year and increase its payment by 20% each year until it pays 100% by year five.

“The whole point of it is so they’re not paying it,” Purdy said. “They have been in the red for so long, it will need some time to get dug out.”

Purdy said Flagler Fluid would not have just one manager at the facility and would not pay an outside pool company. They would maintain the pool themselves.

“There would be budget eliminations with us leasing it,” she said.

It would be a student-first facility, Purdy said. She discussed adding programs for students such as an after-school weight-lifting program for middle-school students and moving out some of the gym equipment to create more space for student use.

“We want to offer plenty of swim lessons in the summer,” she said.

During school hours, they would open the facility for adult aqua aerobics.

“We would like to see it marketed to students more for after-school programs and still see some kind of community membership open during the day when school hours are in,” she said.

Purdy said the organization’s end-goal “is to get a 50-meter pool built to benefit both high schools’ (swim teams) and the program.”

She said she would like to see the proposal added to the School Board’s May 21 business meeting agenda, so that Flagler Fluid could begin to lease the facility on July 1, the beginning of the fiscal year. But that would seem overly optimistic considering the May 21 agenda was put in place for the May 7 workshop.

“Right now I think it’s a good opportunity to keep (the Belle Terr Swim and Racquet Club) open and use it properly,” Purdy said. “They seem to keep stating that this is a crutch, but I think it’s a blessing. They say no other school district has this facility. Exactly. We’re not utilizing the benefits it can create.”


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