BMHS pool to break ground this Friday

Posted: Tuesday, December 11, 2012 4:00 pm

By Hillary Gavan | 16 comments

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has approved construction of the Beloit Memorial High School (BMHS) pool, and the 23,000-square-foot pool facility should be ready for the swim season next year, according to Melissa Badger, community relations coordinator for the School District of Beloit.

The BMHS pool, one of the projects designated for improvements in Phase 1 as a result of the April 2012 referendum, will have a groundbreaking ceremony for students and guests at 12:30 p.m. Friday at BMHS, 1225 Fourth St.

Corporate Contractors Inc., based in Beloit, is working with school staff to plan a short program for the community. BMHS Principal Dr. Tom Johnson, along with Athletics Director Chuck Seils and Swimming Coach Richard Vogel, would especially like to invite all current and former School District of Beloit swimmers to attend the ceremony.

Seils said the existing pool structure will become home to the school’s cardio and strength fitness centers, and the current cardio center would be made into classrooms. The new pool will feature a wheelchair ramp to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The seating capacity in the new pool building would accommodate 750 people, and the one-story pool facility will be 23,000 square feet and include a mezzanine, locker rooms for students and both restrooms and a changing area for the community. It will be open to the community for open swims.

Those in the district are expecting the new pool to bring in revenue to the City of Beloit when swim meets are held.

In an October interview, Superintendent Steve McNeal said lead was found at the high school pool site and said building on it would require DNR approval.

On Monday McNeal said foundry sand could be used on site and would require no special process. However, he said there are some contaminated soils with lead that have to be pulled and sent to a special landfill. He said the DNR has a process in place for dealing with such contaminated soil. He added that the district would be able to stay within its pool budget, less than $6 million, despite the soil issues.

In an earlier interview, Seils said there were growing concerns with the state of the deteriorating pool. The high school pool didn’t meet code, and practices for students were inadequate.

Beloit has been unable to host swim meets at the high school, and there is only one starting block to use for teaching how to dive. On Monday, Seils added that the pool pump also broke over the weekend, but said it had been fixed.

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