The Salt Lake Board of Education agreed to take the financial plunge Tuesday by pledging $700,000 toward construction of a new swimming complex.
In a unanimous vote, the board decided the school district will pay one-third of the cost to build a $2.1 million swimming complex on Guardsman Way and Sunnyside Avenue.But in its vote, school board members stipulated that any financial problems that occur during the pool's operation will be the city's, not the school district's, responsibility.
The Salt Lake City Council, which approached the school board about the plan, committed to pay one-third of the construction costs contingent upon the school district's participation. The remaining third will come from private donations, including a $500,000 gift from the Steiner Corp.
The proposed complex, which will be built on land owned by the federal government, will include a 50-meter outdoor pool with a diving tank, a wading area and a 25-yard indoor pool.
Superintendent John W. Bennion said the concerns about the school district's participation have been satisfied.
An ad hoc committee determined that the indoor pool is large enough for two swim teams to practice in. Although some thought the proposed fee structure was too steep, committee members are convinced that the proposed fees are necessary to operate the pool, the superintendent said.
Board member Ron Walker said he views the proposed complex as beneficial to the entire city, not just the school district. "I support it because it not only enhances education in the district but, like the West High track, it will enhance the city. The city will be a gainer."
Board President Stephen G. Boyden said that with the sale of South High to Salt Lake Community College, none of the city's three high schools has a swimming pool. The new pool will give the swim teams better access to a pool.
Because of the district's participation, it will have first right of pool rental and will pay a fee one-half the normal rate.
The board also decided that action on the proposal to build a new track at West High School will be started by April 15.
The board plans to build a standard high school track, comparable to those at East and Highland high schools, unless a private group interested in constructing an international track can raise the necessary money by that date.
Board members said the district will pay $811,586 for the standard high school track. The international track would cost $1.06 million. Private contributors will make up the difference if the international track is built.
The school board first discussed a new track for West in 1978.