GRAND JUNCTION, Colo.
Grand Junction saw close to 3 inches of snow today which to some people is the perfect day to go swimming at the indoor Orchard Mesa Pool.
Currently, the talk of the town centers on concern about Orchard Mesa Middle school being demolished in the spring and the pool along with it.
School District 51 currently owns the pool and pays for utilities, but that may soon change. School Board member, Doug Levinson says, “We collectively did not feel our mission was any longer to be in the pool business.” He later adds in the meeting, “There isn’t anybody in our district, and certainly, on this board that isn’t in favor of viable recreational opportunities for our community and our kids, but that’s not under the umbrella of our mission.” The school board says their mission is to support success for all students.
Chief Operations Officer, Phil Onofrio talks about the cost of keeping the pool pumping. “The city estimates that the cost to repair the pool is $2.4 million. They’ve asked the school district to pay about $850,000 towards that amount. Currently, we pay $37,000 a year for ongoing utility costs”, says Onofrio. District 51 Superintendent, Diana Sirko says, “Paying up-keep on a pool year-in and year-out that we really do not use as part of our instructional program; only on rare occasions is simply not part of our charge.”
Last year voters turned down a ballot initiative to fund improvements to Orchard Mesa Pool and now the Pool Board is swimming for suggestions, and Onofrio has one. “We’re suggesting that the city go back and ask voters if they would like to spend tax money on Orchard Mesa Pool”, says Onofrio.
The Pool Board is set to meet the public at Stocker Stadium Tuesday, January 28th at 9:30 a.m.