A few weeks ago I published an article called “Six Pools in Three Schools”. In the article I stated that the pool at the 12th high school wasn’t one pool, but rather two, that the pool complex had been characterized as already decided by county officials, and that the designs for the 13th and 14th high schools would also include pools.
Since then the school division has posted a presentation on the “two pool aquatics complex” at the 12th high school that will be given to the school board on June 5th. School division staff have reportedly stated that the designs for the two-pool aquatics complex at the 12th high school were prepared a few weeks ago.
Two school board members, Gil Trenum and Chairman Milt Johns, stated in public session that they were not aware of any plans to build pools in the 13th and 14th high schools. I have been told that Superintendent Walts has assured the school board and staff that the school division has no plans or thoughts of providing pools in the 13th and 14th high schools, and that the first he or anyone with the school division had heard of the possibility of pools in the 13th and 14th high schools was when my article was posted.
I still have a few questions.
Regarding the “plans” for pool(s) in the 13th and 14th high schools
Will the projected cost for the 13th high school be adjusted in the CIP? As I stated here, the cost of the 13th high school appears to be factored off of the $111 million projected cost of the 12th high school – a cost which includes the $10.5 million pool complex. If we accept that there are / were no plans, thoughts, intentions, hopes, dreams, or desires of putting pool(s) in the 13th high school, then its projected cost should have been calculated off of the projected cost of the 12th high school minus the pool(s). If you pull the cost of the pool complex out of the equation, the projected cost of the 13th high would be in the range of $107 – $108 million instead of $118 million.
Regarding the pool(s) in the 12th high school
Why is the school division planning to provide a pool complex in a high school? While the facility will be built with bonds, the annual debt service and operating costs will be paid for with the allocation of money PWCS receives from the county. Usage fees will not cover the operating costs of the complex. As the complex will cost more than it takes in, which at the present is estimated to be a minimum of $550,000 a year, the school pool(s) will take annual recurring county allocations that would otherwise have been used in classrooms.
I’ve heard multiple different justifications for the pool complex from other citizens, but none from our elected school board members. If the school board is considering directing the school division to spend a minimum of $550,000 a year to provide an aquatics complex in the 12th high school, shouldn’t the citizens of this county know why?
One last thing, and this was mentioned on BVBL.
What will stop PWCS from providing pools in all of our high schools? Wouldn’t whatever it is that justifies PWCS providing an aquatics complex in one school also apply to every other high school in this county?