Swimmers compete during the 2018 Fish Bowl meet at Kelly Walsh High School. The Kelly Walsh pool would continue to be used for competitions if the school district moves forward with a plan to build a practice pool at Natrona County High School.

Natrona County High School is inching closer to having its own swimming pool after a school board committee advanced the plan to build the $10 million addition last week.

The design, forwarded to the full board for consideration by the trustees’ infrastructure committee last week, calls for an additional structure to be built onto the Mustang Athletic Complex — or MAC — building, on NC’s campus. Additionally, the board is proposing it build a bridge between the main high school building and the MAC. That would cost roughly $770,000, bringing the total cost of the two projects — which the board will consider undertaking simultaneously — to about $11 million.

The school board backed a bond issue to fund the pool in 2014, which failed by 400 votes. The board said after the bond was voted down that it would begin to save money to eventually fund the project. That money appears to be in-hand now.

The bridge, meanwhile, would be paid for out of school safety and security funds. Trustees Dave Applegate and Kevin Christopherson, both of whom sit on the infrastructure committee, said the bridge would keep students within the school facilities and limit outside doors opening.

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Applegate said afterward that, should the NC pool be approved, it would serve as a practice pool, with the ability to seat more than 140 people. It would feature eight lanes and a diving well in the corner of the pool. Kelly Walsh’s aquatic facility would host district competitions. It’s the inverse of the schools’ indoor track capabilities: NC has a competition track, while KW’s is better suited for practice.

“For someone who’s been championing this project for long time, it’s consistent with sort of the equity issue that we were trying to maintain as we look at facilities at both schools,” Applegate said.

He and Christopherson explained that the “safety bridge” made more sense connecting the MAC building to the main NC high school building than connecting KW’s aquatic facility and that school’s main campus. The MAC building is closer to the NC mother ship, for one, and more students travel to and from the MAC building regularly than KW kids do to the Trojans’ pool.

Applegate said the project, if undertaken, would be the last part of the NC and KW remodels, which spanned several years and involved significant renovations and additions to both buildings.

Follow education reporter Seth Klamann on Twitter @SethKlamann


Education and Health Reporter

Seth Klamann joined the Star-Tribune in 2016 and covers education and health. A 2015 graduate of the University of Missouri and proud Kansas City native, Seth worked for newspapers in Milwaukee and Omaha before coming to Casper.

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