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Pool pitched for new Chambersburg high school

February 28, 2005|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - Dozens of people attended last week's Chambersburg Area School District's Buildings and Grounds Committee meeting to support the inclusion of an indoor pool in a new high school.

"A natatorium is a necessary part of our building program," parent Cathy Puhl told the committee. Puhl said an indoor swimming pool would serve a number of educational and life skill goals for the district, including health and physical fitness, and training in water safety, swimming and lifesaving.

Puhl said use of the pool would not have to be limited to the approximately 8,000 students in the district.

"With the size of this community, we could use a third pool," she said.

The Chambersburg YMCA has two indoor pools, said Puhl, who has one child who is a competitive swimmer. She said neither pool, however, is adequate to allow simultaneous swimming and diving competitions.

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"When we compete at home, it is only swimmers," she said of the district's swim team. Puhl said future Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic Association rules could require pools to be 5 or 6 feet deep at one end.

The district pays the YMCA $11,000 a year for use of its pools, she said.

Harold Fosnot, a former school board member, said a pool would be an expensive project, but unlike a track and football stadium, it could be used every day of the year. He said it could be available to the public in the evenings and weekends and possibly turn a profit for the district.

Superintendent Edwin Sponseller said Thursday an indoor pool would cost approximately $4 million and be expensive to operate.

"Traditionally, they are not considered moneymakers," he said.

But he added that districts with indoor pools "find they are the most highly used facility in a school district."

Chambersburg is in the process of planning a new high school at a cost of approximately $88 million. In September, the school board authorized the district to incur debt of up to $116 million to build a new high school and two new elementary schools.

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