Milton High School senior Danielle Cramer has spent a lot of time at the school pool.
So as a swim team captain, she was impressed by the updated pool, which reopened Monday for swim practice after months of renovations.
“It feels like home, but it’s like a new home,” Cramer said.
“We didn’t know if we would even have a place to practice or host our senior year meet, so having it be a reality is awesome.”
Stephen Schantz, school district building and grounds supervisor, said crews have worked on the project since the school board approved it in January.
The pool has new walls, floors and a new ventilation system. The previous HVAC system was original to the more than 50-year-old pool and was beyond repair, Schantz said.
The Rock County Public Health Department also notified the school that the pool wasn’t skimming water correctly, and district officials realized quickly that the project was necessary, Schantz said.
He said the district was determined to have the pool ready by mid-August.
“It’s a long time coming,” he said Monday. “Getting the kids back in the pool today was the goal from day one.”
The renovations are part of the $59.9 million facilities referendum that voters passed April 2. The project was not supposed to exceed $881,000, and the total cost was around $814,000. The savings will be used for high school renovations, Schantz said.
The pool will be used by high school teams for the next two years. A new pool on the east end of the high school is also part of the referendum.
After the new pool is constructed, the old pool likely will be converted for other athletic uses. Construction hasn’t yet begun on the new pool, which is slated to open in fall 2021.
Until then, pool users are happy with the renovations.
“The facility is 100% improved from what it was before,” said Milton High School swim coach Lindsey Hassenfelt. “I think the environment is just brighter, and there seems to be a lot of positive energy.”
Schantz said the pool is “leaps and bounds” better than before, and he hopes the community enjoys using it.
“It’s a clean, safe, healthy environment for these kids and every other user of this pool that comes in here,” he said.
Meanwhile, the Milton girls swim team is happy to be home.
“It’s really special,” senior Caroline Burki said. “I’ve grown up using this pool, and I’m glad I get to spend my senior year here.”
Her coach agreed.
“Six months ago, they didn’t know if they would have a place to practice to start the year,” Hassenfelt said. “To be back in their home facility at Milton High School is a big win for this team.”