Former Brownwood High School tennis coach Sammie Courington has a place to go find relief for his arthritic knees: the therapeutic pool at the Brownwood Regional Rehab and Fitness Zone, at 3201 Coggin Ave.
Courington and others who use the pool — either as paid members or those under prescribed medical care — will end up losing access to the pool because the Rehab and Fitness Zone is moving, and that displeases Courington and other users of the heated pool, which has jets in all four corners.
The rehab services will relocate to 101 Streckert, the former home of the Brownwood Surgery Center and the current home of Ranger College nursing program, BRMC Chief Executive Officer Chip Camp said, and the nursing program will relocate to the Coggin Avenue facility that is now home to the Rehab and Fitness Zone.
The fitness center portion of the Rehab and Fitness Zone will relocate to a building near the hospital known as the hospital annex, Camp said.
Courington, 60, said he got a letter dated Feb. 25 from the Rehab and Fitness Zone notifying members of the relocation.
The letter stated the Rehab and Fitness Zone continues to grow and needs to upgrade its technology system, and the relocation will allow it to be linked to BRMC's computer system — which is not available in its current location, Courington said, quoting from the letter.
A fiber connection would be required at the Rehab and Fitness Zone's current location, and "we can't get it there without a tremendous cost," Camp said.
Dr. Don Bostic, Ranger College executive vice president, said there have been "conversations" with the hospital about relocating the nursing program to the building now occupied by the Rehab and Fitness Zone.
That's the hospital's call, and the nursing program will go wherever the hospital asks it to, Bostic said, adding that a move won't happen before the end of the semester. Bostic said BRMC lets Ranger College use the facility at no charge and Ranger College is grateful for the arrangement.
Camp said a "transition" will begin in mid-to-late April.
Courington said he joined the Rehab and Fitness Zone specifically for the pool. "The pool is what separates it from the (other fitness centers)," Courington said. "The pool is what makes the difference between it and any other place in town."
Many clients, including the elderly and the arthritic, need the pool, which in addition to being heated has jets in all four corners, Courington said.
Courington has collected signatures on a petition that protests the loss of the pool, but Courington isn't sure what has become of it. He said he taped two pages filled with signatures on a bench near the pool Wednesday, but the pages disappeared. Courington left two more pages with signatures Thursday, but they, too, were gone by Friday morning.
"I'm going to try to get an appointment to meet with the director of physical medicine, and if I need to, I will go up the chain of command to the CEO."