Many have questioned why the Bethel School District is moving forward with a proposal to fund a $29 million community swimming pool. The answer is simple: This facility is needed to support educational and athletic programs as well as our growing community.
There are no pools within Bethel’s 200-plus square miles, and recreation spaces are extremely limited. So the board of directors spent several years commissioning studies and reviewing models and business plans to come up with the right fit for our district.
School facilities are not designed to generate money, but they can be constructed in a way that minimizes expenditures and potential losses. This educational facility provides more instructional programs and allows us meet federally mandated Title IX compliance.
About one-third of the construction costs and many of the personnel will be funded by the state. The proposed pool’s design is large enough to accommodate our needs, and its special features have been included to attract people and teams from surrounding communities.
By maximizing rental and facility user fees, the district can decrease the pool’s operating costs.
(Carlson is a Bethel School District spokeswoman.)