Swim enthusiasts and the Salt Lake City Council are asking the Salt Lake School District to take the big plunge by picking up one-third of the construction cost of a $2.1 million swimming complex.
Five members of the seven-member City Council appeared before the Salt Lake Board of Education Tuesday night seeking the board's financial support of the recreational complex proposed for Guardsman Way near Sunnyside Park.The school board said it will make its decision at its Feb. 21 meeting.
The proposed complex, which would be built on land owned by the federal government, would include a 50-meter outdoor pool with a diving tank, a wading area and a 25-yard indoor pool.
If the necessary financing becomes available, construction would begin in the spring and be completed by summer 1990.
"This is an excellent opportunity to meet community needs," said City Council President Willie Stoler.
He said the city has already pledged $700,000, contingent upon the school district's participation, and another $700,000 would come from private donations, including a gift of $500,000 from the Steiner Corp.
He said the school district's $700,000 contribution on a 10-year payment schedule would ensure the district of one-third ownership of the facility and give the district's swimming programs a home.
With the sale of South High School last year, the district lost its only swimming pool.
West High rents time at Deseret Gym, while the district has paid $40,000 to Salt Lake Community College this year so the East and Highland swim teams can use the South pool until Feb. 15.
Under the proposal, the school district would not have to pay maintenance and operation costs of the new swim complex but would be given first priority for renting the pools at half the normal fee.
Project supporter Steve Lowe said maintenance and operation costs would also be covered by admission fees charged to the public.
He said 125,000 admissions are anticipated annually.
The school district would also have two representatives on the seven-member governing board, he said.
School board members said they want information on the availability of money from the district's recreation levy before making a decision.
Business manager Gary Harmer said to take the necessary money from the recreation levy would require either raising the levy or eliminating funding uses.
In a related matter, board members told boosters of the Highland and East water polo teams that they are still looking for a pool that the teams can use this spring.
When the school district contracted with the community college for continued use of the South High pool, it didn't include the water polo season, which has upset team members and their parents.
Harmer said he is discussing the possibility of renting pool time from the Granite School District for $10,000.
The South pool is another possibility, but there is a question of whether the college will keep it open, and the rental price is steep - $45,000.
But a community college official told the Deseret News Wednesday that the pool will be open and rental isn't that high.
Craig Forman, SLCC director of recreation, said the college is already working out an arrangement to rent the pool to Judge Memorial High for several hours daily and is actively seeking other renters.
If the school district wants the pool for the two water polo teams, the cost would be about $6,500 for the remainder of the school year, he reported.