News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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July 19, 2013

Vigo County plans its own new school pool proposal

Council president says county is talking with Vigo School Corp. about central pool project

TERRE HAUTE — A proposal to build a new, centrally located swimming center to serve the Vigo County School Corp. — and replace three aging high school pools — has taken a new twist.

On Thursday, Bill Thomas, president of the Vigo County Council, confirmed the county “is working on a proposal that we feel will address the concerns of the community as well as meet school corporation needs.”

He would not elaborate, but he said he would present the proposal during a School Board meeting Monday night in which the district intends to outline in detail its proposal for a new pool. The public will then have an opportunity to comment.

The meeting will be at 6 p.m. at Sarah Scott Middle School.

Thomas said there is a dialogue going on among county officials related to the proposed VCSC pool project.

The county’s proposal “would involve some county funding, but it would not center around property taxes,” Thomas said. “There are other avenues we are researching.”

The model to be presented “does not require any private funding,” Thomas said.

He believes the proposal could potentially “help the Vigo County School Corp. and what they are trying to do.”

Thomas said he hopes that one of the county commissioners also will attend to help present the proposal. “I think there are a lot of people in the county who are excited about this opportunity,” he said.

Vigo County school officials have proposed a bond issue to construct a centrally located swimming pool facility to replace aging pools at three high schools.

Officials say swimming pools at Terre Haute North Vigo, Terre Haute South Vigo and West Vigo high schools are in poor condition and in need of renovation.

District officials have estimated the cost of a swimming center at about $9.5 million. The proposal has generated much discussion and controversy; many people have indicated support, while many others have expressed concern or opposition.

Superintendent Dan Tanoos says that the first step for the school district is to make the presentation on Monday.

“If that opens doors for others to converse with us about partnerships or financial support, we would be open to those discussions,” he said. “We are willing to listen.”

He said he has had some informal talks with county officials.

But the school district is on a tight timeline, he said. “We can’t slow the process down. We are on a timeline with the current conditions of our pools,” he said.

The school district’s top priority is a facility that serves VCSC students, Tanoos said. The facility also would serve the Torpedoes swim club.

“I’m enthusiastic about having a new swimming facility in Vigo County that meets the needs of our students,” Tanoos said. But if there also is an opportunity to do things “bigger and better than what we are proposing that meets our needs first while still benefiting the community … we are willing to have that conversation.”

Sue Loughlin can be reached at 812-231-4235 or sue.loughlin@tribstar.com.

 

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