An effort to accelerate construction of a western Loudoun aquatics center as part of the school division’s long-range construction program failed to gain traction during a School Board work session Monday night. However, the conversation is expected to jump start the project in talks with county supervisors.
Ian Serotkin (Blue Ridge) proposed the $36 million addition to the school divisions proposed $1.357 billion, six-year construction plan. Seeking to address the dearth of training and competition opportunities for student athletes west of Leesburg, he suggested building a competition size indoor pool on the campus of a high school.
“This is a real need for our swim teams especially in western Loudoun, but really across the county,” he said.
The Board of Supervisors has plans to build an aquatics center as part of a western Loudoun recreation center. That $118 million project is on a scale with those at Claude Moore Park and in Dulles South, but construction is not scheduled within the next five years.
Serotkin said he was looking for a cost-effective way to get the project going, suggesting construction in FY 2025.
The only indoor public pool in western Loudoun is the Round Hill Indoor Aquatics Center, but its four lanes are too short for competition and too shallow to allow starts or diving. Training time at other area facilities is scarce as well, with athletes required to train late at night or in the early mornings or to venture outside the county.
Serotkin said collocating the center on a school site could cut costs.
“This is a fairly normal thing that many school districts provide as part of supporting our students and the larger community,” he said.
Other School Board members raised concerns about taking on a project that typically would fall under the purview of the county’s parks and recreation department, not only for construction but also for staffing, operations and maintenance.
Serotkin was joined by John Beatty (Catoctin) and Jeffrey Morse (Dulles), who both supported plugging the project into the school division’s construction plan. However, others said they support having talks with the county board about how best to get the project moving.
“I think it is a conversation worth having,” Serotkin said.
The board is set to finalize its Capital Improvements Program on Dec. 15. During Monday’s work session the board agreed to accelerate a $10 million upgrade to the HVAC systems at several schools, and discussed options to accelerate construction of high school weight rooms, lights for tennis courts and other smaller-ticket projects