Kirkland Council to explore options for aquatic center

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2013-2014 City Council work program amended to include pool study

 

The pool at Juanita High School, known as the Juanita Aquatic Center, is facing potential closure by the Lake Washington School District (LWSD).  At the urging of some citizens to save the pool or find an alternative aquatic facility, the Kirkland City Council unanimously voted on September 17, 2013 to explore options to replace the existing facility. Specifically, the City Council amended its 2013-2014 Work Program to include a commitment that the City partner with LWSD as well as private and public organizations to consider options for replacing the Juanita Aquatic Center by the year 2017.  The Juanita Aquatic Center has been deemed by LWSD to be nearing the end of its useful life and would require an estimated $15 million to replace.  Although the LWSD Board of Directors approved placing a school bond measure on the February 2014 election ballot which, if approved, would modernize Juanita High School, the ballot will not propose funding to replace the pool.  If the February 2014 ballot measure passes, the District anticipates closing the Juanita pool as early as 2017.  The LWSD website has a “Frequently Asked Question” page about the Juanita swimming pool at www.lwsd.org(search: Juanita Swimming Pool).

 

“The Council’s action does not commit the City or LWSD to constructing a new facility but to seek school, government, business and non-profit partnerships and explore what could be possible in providing an aquatic facility,” notes Mayor Joan McBride.  “The Juanita swimming pool is an important community asset and we hope to find a way to preserve such an asset.”

 

On September 9, 2013, the LWSD Board affirmed its intent to seek partnerships to find an alternative aquatic facility and to allocate unspent money from the 2006 voter-approved school bond toward pool partnerships  if the 2014 bond passes.  The Board’s resolution stating their intent can be found on the LWSD website.

 

In the coming months, the City’s Parks and Community Services Department will develop project management and feasibility strategies to indentify the potential costs and locations of an aquatic facility that would serve the District’s and community’s needs.  City staff will present a work plan and budget to the City Council for these efforts in November 2013.  Contact Jennifer Schroder, Director, Parks & Community Services Department, at 425-587-3301 or jschroder@kirklandwa.gov with questions.