School Board Highlights Need for Western Aquatics Center

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

10 thoughts on “School Board Highlights Need for Western Aquatics Center

  • 2020-12-01 at 2:36 pm

    The school system doesn’t “need” a $118M aquatic center, nor does it “need” all the other bells and whistles LCPS wastes money on across the district. A school system needs to provide an education, not grossly over-subsidize students’ hobbies.

  • 2020-12-01 at 2:43 pm

    The only thing this school board needs to be ‘highlighting’ is opening our schools. Not lighted tennis courts, not weight rooms, and not 40 million dollar swimming pools.

    Do your job. Open the schools. At least make some faint attempt at educating our kids so we receive some marginal return on our 1.4 billion dollar investment — or resign.

  • 2020-12-01 at 4:13 pm

    School Board priorities…..
    We are all just shaking our heads. Maybe Serotkin and the others could address current, pressing issues like opening our schools. The vaccine is weeks away from initial release. Do you guys actually have a plan for educating our kids? You have had 9 months to work on it.

    As far as this pool proposal, how about some data? How many swimmers are utilizing our current pools? How many youth do we have ( or have had) enrolled in swim sports? You know, important questions to ask before you drop 40 million of OUR tax money.

    Serotkin says there is a “real need” for the pool. Define real need. This election can’t come soon enough……

    IanSerotkin (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.

  • 2020-12-01 at 4:19 pm

    I’m with you both — here’s a crazy idea — cancel all the sports teams, and put a focus the things that will make people successful in the future — the good old 3 R’s. I may be poking an angry bear here, but our kids need to focus on the core skills for success — these teams just fuel a fantasy of magically jumping to the top of the list when all that really happens is the stumble through, and end up working dead end low skill jobs.

    • 2020-12-01 at 7:39 pm

      School sports do not need to be canceled, that is not the problem at all. School sports foster a lot of learning for kids- they teach them sportsmanship, responsibility (keep grades up/stay out of trouble or you do not play), teamwork, and leadership- there are very valuable lessons to be learned in sports. No, the real problem is this school board seems to be focused on everything but teaching the kids- they want this ridiculous aquatics center, they somehow feel it is their responsibility to provide three free meals a day to everyone in the county, not to mention their social justice agenda. This entire board needs to reevaluate its priorities and get back to actually teaching English, math, history, science, etc. The whole meal program makes me scratch my head. I’m seeing my neighbor, who paid over $800k for his house about three months ago and is performing a $100k renovation, out there getting his meals off the bus every day. Why and when did this become the school system’s responsibility? I understand that schools fed lunch to kids, and maybe the system wants to keep the cafeteria workers employed, but it has gone way overboard- three meals a day, even on holidays and all through last summer? Ridiculous!

      • 2020-12-02 at 11:15 am

        I see the exact same thing John. Affluent neighborhoods serviced daily by a school bus with meals. It’s state sanctioned waste, fraud, and abuse.

  • 2020-12-01 at 6:05 pm

    The school board needs to focus on opening the schools, once they accomplish that then they can consider other things.

  • 2020-12-01 at 6:21 pm

    The expression “tone deaf” doesn’t even begin to describe Loudoun’s school board.

    It’s like we’ve been transplanted to bizarro world.

  • 2020-12-02 at 10:26 am

    Unfortunately some school board members don’t understand nor appreciate what the term equity means nor how it is executed within LCPS. Years back the parents at Stonebridge offered to pay to expand the athletic facilities but because other schools in the area (Parkview) started crying about equity it was blocked. Playgrounds are another area that seem reasonable all schools would have an excellent facility including full handicap access but that is not the LCPS reality as parents have to cough up money to build them. Broad Run High School uses Ashburn Village pool for free. What is wrong with a commercial enterprise in Western Loudoun justifying a swim center and offering it to LCPS to use for FREE as Ashburn does? Please stop thinking “tax paid pork” and start thinking commercial networking!

  • 2020-12-14 at 7:03 pm

    Bob O for superintendant.

    BTW— We do not need an aquatic center. Has the SB has lost their minds?

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