CASPER, Wyo. — Natrona County High School’s Mustang Athletic Community Center (MACC) could see a new pool facility added.
The MACC already features a synthetic turf football field, career and technical education classroom space and a recessed gymnasium floor.
The budget for the pool would be $10,237,630. The Natrona County School District Board of Trustees discussed the proposal during their Monday, Sept. 9 work session.
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Numerous members of the NCHS girls swimming team attended the work session to listen to the session, hoping to show the school board they’d like to see the proposal move forward.
The school board would need to approve the proposal during regular meetings in order for the project to get underway.
“I sincerely want NC to have a pool,” school board Chair Rita Walsh said.
She said that she’d like to have a more practical design for the pool.
The district is also considering designs for a bridge that would connect the MACC to the main school building.
That bridge project has a proposed budget of $770,432.
Trustee Clark Jensen explained that the district had the firm Hastings+Chivetta provide a conceptual design for the pool to help determine the estimated cost of the pool project.
He explained that the infrastructure committee originally lumped the proposed pool and bridge project together, but separated them after receiving some push back from some school board members.
The proposed pool would be an eight lane, 25 yard practice pool that could be used for physical education classes, swim team practices and head to head competitions.
The school district could also make the facility available to the public when school is not in session.
Funding would come from the recreational mill levy and the capital projects fund.
“Currently, there is $5.0 million earmarked for a NCHS pool within this fund,” the school district says of their capital fund. “Combining $4.96 million earmarked for the pool and the $5.28 million from NCSD’s portion of the recreation mill levy, there are sufficient funds available to design and construct the natatorium.”
Trustee Kevin Christopherson said that the NC swim team needs a practice facility because it is impractical for them to travel to Kelly Walsh, and furthermore was impractical to KW due to space constraints.
He added that it made economic sense to the district to move forward on the project since about half of the funding would come from the mill levy.
“It’s been an embarrassment for me to sit on this board and not have a pool for NCHS,” Christopherson added. “Now’s the time for NC to have a pool.”
He also said the project would only get more expensive in the future, so thought it would be wise to act on the project now.
Trustee Angela Coleman suggested that instead of adding a pool, the district should look to work with the YMCA or other pools in the community to serve as practice space for the NC swim team.
Jensen said he said such agreements haven’t worked out in the past.
School board Vice Chair Dana Howie said she thinks NC should have a pool but also said, “I’m a little leery of the cost.”
Trustee Dave Applegate said he’s been a long time supporter of pools and thinks NC needs a practice pool. He says the designs inclusion of a diving well also makes sense.
“I would say the diving well component at NC still makes it a practice component,” he said.
Applegate added that all of the proposed funding has already been saved by the district, so it wouldn’t limit future board’s options.
Trustee Debbie McCullar said she supports the pool project, but was worried that the school board was putting too much focus on athletics and not enough focus on academics.
The natatorium, or pool facility, would include the following amenities:
A proposed timeline for the project was also discussed:
The following image shows how the pool facility would be attached to the MACC: