FUSD pool still slated for 2019

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Farmersville Unified School Board discusses summer swim hours and fees to pay for annual maintenance of pool

By Reggie Ellis @Reggie_SGN

FARMERSVILLE – The Farmersville Aquatic Center is still on pace for completion by the start of the 2019-20 school year. In fact, the Farmersville Unified School District (FUSD) Board is already having preliminary discussions about summer hours and public swim fees to fund annual maintenance of the pool.

At its March 13 meeting, FUSD board members discussed how other Tulare County school districts manage their pools. Chief Business Officer Jason Kaff presented a report that summarized summer hours and swim fees for Exeter Unified, Woodlake Unified, Visalia Unified and Tulare Joint High School District. Public swim hours generally ran from mid-June to the third week of July between 1 and 4 p.m. EUSD charged $2 per person for three hours daily, WUSD charged $1 for every two hours while the City of Tulare charged $2 per adult and $1.50 per child for two hours daily. Additionally, Tulare rents out its pools for two hours at a cost between $83 to $103 per hour.

VUSD did not offer public swim but did allow the Visalia Parks and Recreation Department to run swim programs at their pools. WUSD’s afterschool program, run by California Teaching Fellows, also offered a summer swim program for $20.

“This was a very preliminary discussion about things we might do to help with the cost of ongoing maintenance,” said superintendent Randy DeGraw.

DeGraw said all of the design plans for the aquatic center have been submitted to the Division of the State Architect (DSA), which provides design and construction oversight for K–12 schools, community colleges, and various other state-owned and leased facilities.

“Best case scenario is that they will approve the plans this August,” DeGraw said.

Once the plans are approved, the district will go out for construction bids. Construction of the pool is tentatively slated for completion by August 2019, according to a timeline presented by Integrated Designs by SOMAM, Inc. last June. The board selected the Fresno architectural firm last April.

The high school pool has been on the minds of Farmersville residents since 2002 when the Meek family donated $1 million following a settlement in the tragic crash that killed the former police and fire chief, 56-year-old Garry Meek, and his 13-year-old granddaughter, Amy Lynn Meek.

The Meek case was chosen as one of the first of the 150 lawsuits filed against Ford Motor Co. and Firestone regarding the recall of defective tires. The Meek family was very hesitant when it came to settlement offers, but settled for an undisclosed amount just as they were preparing their opening statements, according to the archives of The Exeter Sun.

On Nov. 12, 2013, the school board established a Special Reserve Fund and transferred the money out of the General Fund and into the new special fund. The money is actually being held with the Tulare County Treasurer’s Office where it has been growing due to interest and other donations. The account for the Jim Wiley Pool has grown to more than $1.4 million.

The remaining $5.1 million of the pool project will be paid for by a $6 million certificate of participation (COP), or loan, to be paid back with $1.5 million in Career and Technical Education funds that would be reimbursed by the State for Farmersville’s Vocational Education Building at the high school. The building, which includes four labs for building trades and ag technology as well as a classroom and a fabrication shop, was built with funds from Measure A, a $4.8 million bond approved by Farmersville voters in November 2014.

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