Shelton High School's pool could close; decision scheduled to be made Tuesday

mwochnick@theolympian.comMarch 24, 2014 

The future of Shelton High School’s pool is in the hands of the Shelton School Board, which could decide Tuesday at its regularly scheduled meeting whether to close the aging facility because of maintenance and cost-effective issues. The meeting is scheduled for 5:45 p.m. Tuesday at CHOICE Alternative School, 807 W. Pine Street in Shelton.

The 42-year-old pool, which sits on Shelton High grounds, is operated by the school district. According to an open letter by school board president Brenda Hirschi, the pool is facing additional repairs at an estimated cost of another $400,000 to $500,000.

“Just like an old car with many miles on it,” Hirschi wrote, “to keep the pool operational there is an increasingly higher cost for maintenance.”

She continues to say that since 2007, the district has spent more than $500,000 in what she called “major maintenance repairs” and the district spends $160,000 annually in day-to-day operations, including utilities, supplies and employees’ salaries. The district’s revenue on the pool is $50,000 annually.

Shelton’s six-lane pool is home to more than just the Highclimbers’ boys and girls swimming programs. It’s open to the public six days a week for lap swims, swimming lessons, water aerobics and private rental usage.

Sally Karr, a Shelton resident, helped spearhead the “Friends for the Shelton High School pool” Facebook page, said it would “leave a big hole in the community,” should the pool close.

“People have special connections to the pool,” she said.

In comparison, all three of Lacey’s high schools -- North Thurston, River Ridge and Timberline -- each have their own pools. While River Ridge’s pool is the most recent to open, built when the high school opened in 1993, North Thurston’s and Timberline’s pools have had upgrades in 2003 and ‘09, respectively. All three are also open for public use and managed by Lacey Parks and Recreation, said Courtney Schrieve, spokeswoman for North Thurston Public Schools.

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