Milton survey says: 'Yes, no, maybe' to new pool
Click here for a full overview of the Milton Pool survey results which was provided by School Perceptions LLC, the consultants who conducted the survey for the Milton School District and the YMCA of Northern Rock County.
If you go
What: 6:30 p.m. tonight, a consultant with School Perceptions, LLC, which conducted the recent Milton pool survey, will explain the survey results and field questions from the Milton School Board.
Where: The Milton High School library, 114 W. High Street, Milton.
Who responded to the survey?
The Milton pool survey results were drawn from 1082 district residents—about 26 percent of potential respondents, according to an overview supplied by the Milton School District. Here are more figures from the overview that give insight into who took the survey:
-- 37 percent live within Milton city limits, while 24 percent live in the town of Harmony.
-- 54 percent have lived in the Milton area for more than 20 years.
-- 39 percent were 35-54 years old.
-- 24 percent were age 65 or older—and 68 percent did not have school-age children.
-- 73 percent reported neither they nor anyone in their home had used the existing pool in the past month.
MILTON Do residents in the Milton School District want a new indoor swimming pool facility built on the south end of Milton, possibly through a partnership between the Milton School District and YMCA of Northern Rock County?
The answer is yes, sort of.
As taxpayers, would those same residents want to support a possible $4 million referendum to pay for that plan? The answer: No—sort of.
Milton School District and YMCA of Northern Rock County recently released the results of a survey taken this winter that asked whether school district residents want to repair the district's 45-year old pool at Milton High School, or explore building a new, $4 million pool facility in partnership with the YMCA.
The survey also asked whether residents would support a $4 million referendum by the school district to build a new pool facility at a location a mile from the high school.
The school district hoped the survey would help the school board gauge public sentiment on what to do with the district's aging pool.
According to survey results, 38 percent of all respondents said they favor the idea of building a new pool along with the YMCA. 34 percent said the district should repair its existing pool, and 28 percent either weren't sure or thought other options should be explored.
But when asked whether they would support a referendum to build the pool—an expense that would mean a tax increase of about $16 a year for a resident with a $100,000 home—the answer was more definitive: 50 percent of all respondents said no—compared to 36 percent who said yes, and 15 percent who wanted more information.
Yet a more detailed breakdown of the survey—one which split survey respondents into two demographic groups, "parents" and "non-parents," based on whether or not they had school-age children—showed the results weren't that cut and dried.
For instance, 47 percent of "parents" responding said they would support a referendum for a new pool, compared to 42 percent of "parents" who said they would not. And 50 percent of "parents" said they would advise the board to explore a partnership with the YMCA on a new pool.
A survey overview suggests older residents may have been overrepresented in the survey. It said 24 percent of the survey's respondents were senior citizens, which by proportion is double the elderly population in the Milton area, according to census figures.
A representative from School Perceptions, LLC, the consultant who conducted the survey, plans to explain the survey results and answer questions at a school board meeting tonight.
Meanwhile, here are some comments and questions from people who offered written responses to the survey, according to the school district:
-- "Where are people going to get the money with the job market as it is? Not to mention the budget repair bill which will be taking even more funds from the school programs. We will be asked to fund more for those losses also."
-- "There are three of us in our family who would love to use a new pool at the (future) Y (facility). I think it will save money in the long run to build a new one rather than repair the old one."
-- "I do not want anything to do with the YMCA or a collaboration of building a pool with them. Repair our school pool for now either with the bare minimum or until a new school is built, or remodel it with an expansion if a new school is not an option in the next five to 10 years."
-- "Have been sad this (a new pool) hasn't existed while we have lived here. This area really could use a 50-meter pool to house USA long course meets…something sorely lacking in this part of the state."
Repair or build new: That's the question
The following is a breakdown with some key details on the two options presented in the Milton pool survey—to repair or build new:
Option A: Repair and upgrade the existing pool at the high school, which is 45 years old and needs repairs and upgrades.
The district says the plan could cost $1.3 million, and could include mechanical improvements, new tile decking, a new pool lining and an ultraviolet light cleaning system.
The district estimates it would cost $150,000 a year to continue operating the pool at the high school, although it's not clear whether those estimates reflect savings the district could see through upgrades.
The biggest shortcoming of the existing pool, the district says, is that it has only six lanes, making it to small to house major swim meets. Plus, the pool has relatively small areas for seating for spectators and limited deck space for competitors.
Option B: For the school district to consider building a new pool facility at Crossridge Park on Milton's south side, where the YMCA of Northern Rock County plans to eventually build a full-service YMCA.
The facility would have a competition-size pool with eight lanes, allowing the district to host sectional events and other major competitions. Yet, the site is a mile away from Milton High School, where the district's current pool is located, which means district students using the pool would have to be bused in.
The project would cost $4 million, and would likely require a referendum.
Under the plan, the district would own the new pool facility, with the Y taking over operations and maintenance. The arrangement would cost the district up front, but would save on operating costs the district says.
The district says it would form an operating agreement with the Y guaranteeing that:
-- Local youth and school swim teams would have full access to the new pool for practices and swim events
-- Milton students k-12 would have continued access to the pool for physical education classes.
-- The Milton School District would set rates for public swimming at the pool.