Jackson County Central School Board Hears Community Comments Over Pool

Tue 1-24-2023

(Jackson)- Monday night's Jackson County Central School Board Meeting saw a fully packed house, with some community members sitting in hallways or other rooms to hear meeting details on the school's Facebook page, which was live streaming the meeting.

The reason for the packed house was several addresses to the school board about the pool, many of them in favor of the reconstruction of the current facility, as well as keeping the old deal with the city. Among them, Jeff Johnson spoke at length about the pool being an absolute asset in the community...

Johnson 1 

I look at our situation between Jackson and Lakefield with our students being very favorable. We have an outdoor pool in Lakefield that all of our students get to enjoy in the summer. And then we have an indoor pool that both communities and all of our students get to enjoy the entire year. So it's a very favorable situation we have going on right now.”

Nine community members were given permission to speak before the board on the matter, many of them with positive opinions on how much the pool has meant to them and their families in its 40 plus year run. Cost and the deal between the city and school board have been two of the largest issues in this process, and former school board member Eric Kruger addressed the board on these topics...

Kruger 1 (1) 

Obviously there's a large number of people speaking in support of the pool tonight, and I understand that because the pool is a great asset. The issue before us is, how much are we willing to pay for this asset and at what point does it become cost prohibitive. Using the most recent estimate of $7-9 million to remodel the pool or refurbish and assuming the district would have to pay half of that, the cost over the next 20 years would be in excess of $200 per student in our district. Ever single year. That's more than a yearly membership for an entire family to most pools.”

Superintendent Barry Schmidt then talked for a few moments about the pool as well, saying that this is a process that had been going on for a long time, though they were hearing these public concerns...

Schmidt 1 (1) 

So we hear you, we want to take the time and go through this process, but I need to get the information from the city on the $7-9 million because you guys had the same engineers, am I correct Marcus? Same engineers. So we just need to see those things, bring them back to the board, and let them see all the facts, have those discussions to they have the right information. And like I said, we have not made a decision if we're not continuing the partnership, we haven't made a decision to close the pool, we haven't made a decision to keep the pool. We just need the information, we have two new board members that need to get caught up, I think I've sent all the information but I know it's a lot. They may have questions, so we know it's not gonna be a quick thing, but we need to go through the process.”

The likely next step for the city and school board is another meeting between the two entities.