News From Terre Haute, Indiana

July 1, 2013

EDITORIAL: Pooling input and resources

Swimming facility proposal needs full hearing from public

The Tribune-Star

TERRE HAUTE — As required by state law, the Vigo County School Board plans to conduct a public hearing to consider an intriguing proposal for a centralized swimming center that would replace pools at the county’s three high schools. The center would be shared by North, South and West swim teams.

At that hearing before the board, citizens can present their views — pro and con — on a facility that would cost an estimated $8 million to $9 million to build and apparently would be funded through general obligation bonds.

The school administration, in stories we published last Tuesday and June 23, said the cost of renovating the three existing pools would be an estimated $10 million to $13 million (combined). And after those renovations, if they were to be approved, the schools would still be left with 40-year-old pools that are landlocked and cannot be expanded beyond their current six lanes to host sectional meets or other larger scholastic events.

How high a priority a centralized swimming center should be remains to be decided by the board, which will balance the proposal with other needs such as science labs, heating/cooling systems, windows and plumbing that the administration has cited. It will also consider the potential effect if the three schools’ in-house pools are not repaired and swimming classes can no longer be offered.

Need is one big issue. Ramifications on academics is another. Money is the third. What would be the tax impact of repaying those general obligation bonds that would be used to fund the swimming center?

Those are among the issues that need to be discussed at the hearing, which is scheduled for 6 p.m. July 22 in the school administration building, Seventh Street and Wabash Avenue.

We encourage the public to attend and be heard. And we encourage the board to provide members of the public all of the time they need for comment at that session.

Fully hearing the public is imperative in determining whether this idea ultimately will sink or swim.