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Needs assessment likely to focus on WHS pool for bond issue

The Wayland Board of EducatioWHS pooln is getting ready to take the first step toward having a bond issue, very likely to upgrade or replace the aging swimming pool at the high school.

The board’s Facilities Committee has been negotiating with Tower and Pinkster Architects of Grand Rapids to come up with a facilities needs assessment for $15,000 that probably will identify the greatest need as the pool.

This, after board members Monday night received a gloomy report from Maintenance Supervisor John Huyck, who said a Freon leak in the pool already has cost $6,000, the light ballasts have deteriorated and rotting benches need to be replaced. The total cost of repairs is estimated at between $20,000 and $30,000.

And that’s not all.

The pool has had to be closed more than a few times in the past couple of years for repairs of a variety of problems. The pool was installed in 1974, at the same time the high school opened, and it has been deemed by the Michigan High School Athletic Association as unacceptable for recognized interscholastic competition.

“The facility needs an assessment and we’ll be working on how much we need to continue to put into the pool,” said Wayland Schools Finance Director Bill Melching.

At first, it was believed the school district would have Tower and Pinkster do the assessment and continue as architect at a cost of $35,000, but Melching said he thought it would be better to spend the smaller amount of $15,000 for the assessment only and then further decide on options after that.

“We’re not looking for a long-term commitment,” said Superintendent Norm Taylor. “We just want to get this process started… We’re not looking for a Taj Mahal, but we’re looking for something made out of bricks and not straw.”

Board member Gary Wood, a member of the Facilities Committee, said he was concerned that Tower Pinkster submitted the highest bid for all pre-bond work, including architect’s services.

But Taylor answered that hiring Tower Pinkster only for the needs assessment would provide the firm with “incentive to do a quality job. They want to keep your business and hire them as architect.”

Melching acknowledged that if Wayland school district voters approved a bond issue, the local millage rate would increase. He said the current rate is 8.4 mills, up from 7.5 the year before, but he expects it to go down the next time.

He added that he expects the district’s bond consultant to be available at the school board’s next meeting Aug. 10.

Taylor told the board the only election dates available next year without penalty would be in May, the August primary and the November general.

2 Comments

  • Let me try to wrap my mind around paying a firm $15,000 to “prioritize” athletic facilities needs… ummm… pool, tennis courts, football field… clearly the pool is a “community resource”… as are, I would argue, the tennis courts and to a degree even the football field. So, at no charge… I would prioritize them in just that order… pool, tennis courts, football field. (I would add, that if the district had decided (in a 5-2 vote) NOT to spend almost $700,000 on more iPads, there would have been plenty of money to FIX THE POOL, RESURFACE THE TENNIS COURTS AND INSTALL AN ARTIFICIAL SURFACE STADIUM FIELD!

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