190114_POOL01

The Milton High School pool will close for repairs Friday, March 1.

MILTON

Milton High School’s 55-year-old pool will close Friday, allowing the district to begin major construction to keep it operational for the foreseeable future.

Staff will drain the pool early next week and prepare the space for asbestos abatement, which will begin during spring break March 25-29, said Stephen Schantz, district building and grounds supervisor.

Schantz updated the school board and residents on the pool project at Monday’s board meeting, saying the project is on track to be finished by the end of August, right before the Milton Red Hawks girls swim season.

Milton’s swim teams are now in their offseason.

District staff is reviewing designs from Ramaker & Associates, an engineering firm that conducted a June study on the pool’s condition. Updated construction costs should be available next week, Schantz said.

The district announced in January it would close the pool by March 1 because of a failing HVAC system and other problems.

If the district’s $59.9 million facilities referendum passes April 2, the district will build a new pool, but it will take a few years to construct, Superintendent Tim Schigur said in January.

The district is repairing the existing pool to bridge the gap until a new pool is built.

The existing pool would be refurbished into new space as part of the referendum, which means the HVAC system and other repairs must be done no matter what. They are already budgeted for in the referendum.

If the referendum does not pass, the board must find alternative funding for the repairs, which will leave the district “in the red” until it finds a solution, Schigur said.

District officials could take money from the fund balance or borrow up to $1 million without approval from voters, under state law.

The repairs will extend the pool’s life by about 10 more years before another major investment will be needed, according to a report from Ramaker & Associates.

The pool’s natatorium is lined with photos of swimmers from the last few decades.

District officials are working with Signarama to create a collage of the old photos, which will be put back up when construction is complete, Schantz said.

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