The water polo teams at East and Highland high schools could be left high and dry this spring.
For the past five years, the two teams have used the pool at South High School. When the Salt Lake School District sold that building to Salt Lake Community College last year, it arranged to rent the pool for its swimmers.The school district paid $40,000 so that East and Highland swimmers could use the pool until Feb. 15, when the official water-sports season of the Utah High School Activities Association ends.
But that will leave the schools' water polo teams without a pool.
The Salt Lake Board of Education has asked school district officials to submit pool rental costs and it will consider whether or not to pay for additional pool time.
Marilyn Morris, president of the Highland Swim Team Booster Club, said that even though water polo isn't a UHSAA-sanctioned sport, about half of the 36-member Highland swim team participates in the after-season activity. Water polo is important in the continual condition of swimmers, she said.
The swim club members pay for their own equipment and the coach, but in the past they've had the use of the South pool, she said.
With South's closure, the school district has no high school swimming pools. While East and Highland are renting the South pool, West rents a pool at Deseret Gym.
District business manager Gary Harmer said no arrangements were made for after Feb. 15 because the official swimming competition ends then. He said the high school principals were asked at the beginning of the year about the pool needs for their schools.
Assistant superintendent Mary Jean Johnson said the two principals feel strongly about continuing the water-polo program and did not understand that it would be eliminated when they were questioned earlier.
Salt Lake Community College is willing to rent out the pool to the school district or any other interested groups.
Craig Forman, SLCC director of campus recreation, said the pool and other physical education facilities can be rented. The college needs revenue from the rentals to help keep the facility open.
In fact, the college would like to offer open swimming in the community but has been unable to do so because of a lack of funds, he said.
Currently, the East and Highland swim teams are the only groups using the pool, which Forman estimated costs $170,000 annually to operate. However, other groups, including Judge Memorial High and the YMCA, have expressed interest in renting it.
Forman said the college will rent the facility on a first-come, first-serve basis.
SLCC probably won't open its city campus at South until fall 1991. College spokesman Jay Williams said the building requires extensive remodeling and asbestos removal.