This is the Rutherford Swim Association
Updated: Jul 22, 2019
By Jennifer Ersalesi
On Monday, June 24th, the Rutherford Board of Education accepted a bid presented by the Rutherford Swim Association, which is a profit-sharing plan intended to expand the community use of the RHS pool, while also setting aside funds to offset future capital improvements.
See the Rutherford Swim Association proposal here, obtained through the Open Public Records Act from the Board of Ed.
Proposals were submitted to the Rutherford BOE up until June 11th. The Board had time to consider each bid that was received and they determined that the Rutherford Swim Association bid was the best choice.
The two co-founders of the Rutherford Swim Association are Chris Dunn and Mike Lazzara. Chris Dunn told TIR, “The next step will be formalizing and signing a written contract with the Rutherford Board of Education. In the interim we are working diligently to prepare for our September takeover of the aquatic center. This includes finalizing our website, programmatic offerings, pool schedule and employment searches. On July 15, we plan to provide an update on our progress to the Rutherford community in a public forum. In the next month, we hope to announce our final Fall Schedule and begin registering individuals for membership and fall classes/lessons. We are also currently planning initial fundraising events for August or early September.”
Chris Dunn and Mike Lazzara began aggregating information in February 2019 to include in a prospective proposal to the Board of Education. Mike and Chris worked as a team and spent many hours compiling the data, financial projections, and preliminary commitments that were included in the formal proposal submitted to the Rutherford Board of Education.
Michael and Chris were the main contributors working to design the formal proposal. Chris Dunn told TIR, “We also consulted with numerous pool professionals, aquatic program experts, and competitive swim coaches to formulate our vision for the Rutherford High School Pool.”
The plan that was accepted by the Board of Education also offers assurance that the high School pool will continue operating for the next five years. Within those five years, the Rutherford Swim Association hopes to build successful aquatic programs which will meet the diverse needs and interests of the community.
Mike Lazzara and Chris Dunn are both Rutherford High School graduates have been members of the Rutherford community for many years. Chris told TIR, “We decided to form this organization as a response to the proposition of closing the Rutherford Community Pool. Mike and I both benefited from having such a desired asset available to us. The RHS Pool enabled us to become collegiate swimmers and also set us on a path for success. We learned so many life lessons from the countless hours we spent at the Rutherford Pool. We are confident that our shared vision for the pool, will enable the entire community to appreciate an asset that at times has been forgotten or neglected.”
The Rutherford Swim Association plans to offer numerous programs and activities. Within their formal proposal, Mike and Chris outlined some of the following program offerings: open-swim options, a recreational swim team, a swim lesson academy, a highly competitive swim team, certification course (i.e. first aid, CPR, scuba, etc.), and special needs aquatic programs.
Mike and Chris are open to feedback from the community and plan to use that feedback to design and adjust the programming that the Rutherford Swim Association will offer.
The Rutherford Swim Association has a Facebook page and they are currently creating a website.