Middle school pool drained, future still uncertainThe Mitchell Middle School’s indoor pool has been drained and might never be filled again, according to a school board member. School Board President Dana Price said Sunday that school personnel began draining the pool Thursday, following the completion a day earlier of the last swimming lessons scheduled to take place in the pool this summer.
By: Seth Tupper, The Daily Republic
The Mitchell Middle School’s indoor pool has been drained and might never be filled again, according to a school board member.
School Board President Dana Price said Sunday that school personnel began draining the pool Thursday, following the completion a day earlier of the last swimming lessons scheduled to take place in the pool this summer.
The pool is drained annually as part of its maintenance, but Price said the school district does not plan to refill the pool this year and has eliminated pool-related expenses from the draft budget for the upcoming school year. The pool will remain empty but otherwise intact, Price said, until after the board hears more input from members and supporters of the Mitchell Aquatic Club.
“We’re going to wait for the MAC people to come out with some more information,” Price said. “I don’t want to speak for them.”
MAC member Lori Bork had little to say about the issue Sunday.
“We’re examining all options and trying to work with all the parties that have an interest to hopefully come to a great solution for the problem we’re having right now,” Bork said.
Swimming enthusiasts have been scrambling to stave off the pool’s closure or come up with alternative arrangements for swimming lessons, team practices and meets since April, when Superintendent Joe Graves announced his and the board’s intention to close the pool. The school officials contend that the decades-old pool, which they say costs nearly $90,000 annually to operate, is too expensive to maintain. The district’s future plans include converting the pool area into a gymnasium.
Pool supporters say they cannot use the Recreation Center’s indoor pool for team practices and meets, because its size is inadequate. The MAC uses the city’s outdoor pool in the summer, but the club needs an indoor facility during the winter.
Pool supporters scored a victory in May when they convinced the Mitchell City Council to contribute one-third of the cost to operate the middle school pool next school year, up to a maximum contribution of $30,000. Public discussion about the pool has waned since then.
Price’s comments Sunday came in answer to a Daily Republic question about whether the pool will be discussed at this evening’s school board meeting. The meeting’s agenda includes a hearing and vote on the upcoming year’s budget, from which the pool expenses are proposed to be cut.
Price said the pool will not be discussed this evening because “we started draining it on the ninth.”
“Our plan as of right now is to close the pool,” he said.