CLINTON — The final plan for a new pool complex and related renovations for Clinton High School was introduced at Monday’s Clinton School Board meeting at Jefferson Elementary School.

The plan, presented to the board by representatives from Des Moines-based FRK Architects, is expected to be completed in two phases, at a total cost of about $16 million.

Superintendent Richard Basden said the school board has been looking at replacing the high school’s existing pool for over a year. The pool, about 50 years old, sprung a leak and was draining 1,000 gallons a day before school officials temporarily stabilized the outdated plumbing. Basden said a replacement or a complete loss were the only two feasible options regarding the pool.

“It’s beyond a fix,” he said.

Phase one of the plan, with an anticipated construction timeline of May 2010 through August 2011, includes the building of a new addition off Clinton High School’s gymnasium entrance that will house the new pool. The new facility is anticipated to cost nearly $12 million.With three lanes for warm-ups and instruction and eight lanes for competition, the pool would slope to a depth of 12.5 feet and would boast two diving boards. The aquatic complex also would include a lobby, public restrooms, men’s and women’s locker rooms, and storage and maintenance facilities. A second-story viewing area above the locker rooms would overlook the pool, with wellness and fitness rooms and additional public restrooms located on the upper level.

The plan’s second phase would address renovations to the school’s existing gymnasium area, with a total estimated cost of about $4 million. The current pool would be filled in and turned into a weight room, while the school’s existing weight room and wrestling area would be turned into additional locker room facilities.

The project would take measures to prevent the flooding problems in the areas to be renovated, and would use existing space to house the wrestling facilities. The estimated construction timeline after approval of the project would be May 2011 to July 2012.

“The overall project has changed in scope,” said board member Jim McGraw. “This becomes a much more cohesive building plan.”

“I think it’s very impressive,” added board member Mercia Wolf.

The board will vote at its Oct. 12 meeting whether to move forward with phase one of the project for the new aquatic facility. Basden said the board will likely break the plan into smaller contracts, and will also begin considering the details for phase two of the project.

FRK Architects representatives also provided an update on installing air conditioning in Bluff and Whittier elementary schools. The total construction costs are estimated at $3.75 million, and Basden said the school will have access to about $2 million in interest-free funds for the project, expected to be completed between May 2010 and August 2010.

In other business, Basden reported that the district’s future is overshadowed by state budget cuts that could continue to intensify. School officials expect 1.5 percent – or $350,000 – of the district budget will be hit by lost state funding next year. In 2011, that number could increase to 5 percent, a $1-million cut for the district budget. Basden said the district will have to look at areas where it can trim the budget in the future, as “the state’s going through a very difficult time.”

“We hate to say it’s gloom and doom, but it is,” said Gayle Isaac, school board secretary. “The stimulus money came in, but it’s gone.”

The district cannot use its share of stimulus funding for infrastructure improvements, but is planning to put about $88,000 of the funding toward technology upgrades for the school. Additional funds can be used for special education programs at the school, which Assistant Superintendent Deb Olson says served nearly 20 percent of district students last year.

Also Monday, Olson reported that a team of representatives from the Iowa Department of Education will visit the district as part of the Comprehensive School Improvement Plan. The district is assessed by the state every five years on its educational practices and accreditation standards. The site visit team will conduct interviews across the district on Oct. 26 and 27, and will give an exit report Oct. 28 at Roosevelt Administration Center.

Monday’s meeting was the first to follow a vote to change the school board’s meeting sites from its two static locations to a rotation among the district’s eight schools. Before, the board held televised business meetings at Clinton City Hall, and held its Committee of the Whole meetings at Clinton High School. The Oct. 12 business meeting to induct the new board members elected this year will be held at Eagle Heights Elementary, and the new board will decide at that time whether to proceed with the rotating schedule. While the new schedule eliminates televised meetings, district officials have said their hopes are that the rotation will increase community involvement as parents come out to see the district’s schools.

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