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PRHS Aquatics Complex funding passed


The Paso Robles Joint Unified School District Board of trustees approved funding at a Jan. 23 regular meeting for the PRHS aquatics complex’s two pools, clearing the final hurdle for construction to begin in April. The board voted 6-1 to approve the first stage of the aquatics complex funded by Measure M bond funds and community donations.

Superintendent Williams

“[This] is a great milestone for PRJUSD. This conversation started in 1991…it’s time to put our kids on the map and give them a chance to compete at state and national levels,” PRJUSD superintendent Chris Williams said.

The new pools will be a great boon to PRHS swimming, diving, and water polo teams, and it would be of the caliber to host state and national championships for aquatics sports. “We’re planning to have bodies in the water by January of next year,” Williams said.

The measure relies on $5.7 million of funding from the measure M bonds, which were passed in the 2016 general election, and some $750,000 in community donations. The district is hoping to raise another $750,000 to complete the final parts of the project, including expanded bathrooms and a changing room. The project has taken no money from the PRJUSD general fund, according to Williams. Matt McClish, a PRJUSD board trustee appointed on Oct. 30, 2017, and 7-year board trustee Tim Gearhart, each pledged at the meeting to donate $1000 and $100, respectively, to the effort just before the measure was passed.

Board Trustee Chris Bausch

  Chris Bausch, a 5-year Board trustee, voted against the measure, citing concerns about raising enough money to complete the complex, and suggested approval be delayed until all funding had been secured. “I recognize that we desperately need an aquatics complex at the high school…[but] I’d really like to see these pledges before we start any construction costs…Is there a problem with delaying [the approval] other than we wait another year?” Bausch said.  

Williams assured Bausch that funding promised by local businesses and small donations would be enough for the project by the time of the groundbreaking ceremony on Apr. 9. “We assure on my paycheck and my family’s the money will be raised,” Williams said.

Board Trustee Field Gibson

7-year Board trustee Field Gibson also replied, “I feel comfortable with what I know about who’s stepping up [to donate]…I’m not willing to wait another year, I’m not willing to wait another six months, the time is now to get it done.”

The passage of the item was celebrated by approximately 50 PRHS swimming, water polo, and diving athletes, as well as their parents and coaches, who clapped and cheered when the measure was passed.

The board approved the purchase of two pools custom-made in Italy, currently the fastest pools in the world. One pool is a 50 meter by 25 yard competition-sized pool, while the other is a 56 foot by 75 foot training and warm-up pool.

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