Muskego - High school football fans might be in for some relief in more than one way as early as next season and the leaky Muskego High School swimming pool might be dealt with, too.

In a workshop last week, the Muskego-Norway School Board discussed using savings from this year's budget and possibly surplus funds and potential athletic club contributions to swing the two projects, said board President Rick Petfalski.

However he emphasized, discussions are preliminary, with nothing being approved until bids come back on the $43.2 million elementary school consolidation plan.

That plan involves building a new middle school, expanding and remodeling Mill Valley Elementary School, revamping the Bay Lane Middle School/Country Meadows Elementary School building and improvements at Lakeview Elementary School. Voters approved the spending in a referendum in April.

However Petfalski said, the bathroom and pool projects might be finalized as early as a January school board meeting. although a go-ahead might still have to wait for consolidation plan bids.

Projects not new

Originally, the board had wanted to include the bathrooms/concession building and dealing with the pool in a referendum when it asked voter approval for the elementary consolidation. However, there was more support for the school consolidation plan, so the board dropped the two additional questions.

"These are still needs," Petfalski said of the bathrooms and leaky swimming pool. "They just weren't as high on the list."

"We've been talking about them since before the referendum," he said.

Home football games draw average crowds of 2,000 to 2,500 people with fewer than half a dozen chemical toilets provided, Petfalski said.

"It goes without saying that this is something that needs to be taken care of," he said.

No referendum money

If the board sees a way to go ahead with them, no referendum money would be used for the bathroom or pool projects, he emphasized.

If everything goes smoothly, a bathroom/concessions building might be ready for the next football season, he said..

A bathroom/concessions building, estimated to be in the $700,000 range, would serve both high school and youth football, he said. Soccer already has bathrooms, he said. The track team doesn't need bathrooms, either, because it only holds practices at the football stadium. Meets are held elsewhere because the track is not suitable for meets, Petfalski said.

With the elementary school consolidation plan taking care of the academic priorities, board member Brett Hyde said he strongly supports the two athletics projects.

"I would love to pull out all the stops to get them going," Hyde said.

"We have an opportunity to leverage some funding and hopefully get some community support" in the form of fundraisers for the projects, he said. An example of community support is that except for grading the land, the ball diamonds at Park Arthur were funded by baseball groups, he said.

There is indeed a possibility of outside help at least with the pool project from the Southwest Aquatic Team (SWAT) and from private individual donors, Petfalski said. SWAT is a private athletic organization for young swimmers that is a feeder to the high school swim teams.

Fix or replace?

The cost estimates vary widely regarding the pool. The board is weighing replacing as well as fixing the pool.

There are significant issues weighing against fixing the pool, however.

The pool is a little narrow, having only six lanes, meaning that it can't have multi-school meets, Hyde said. Spectator seating also is limited.

The diving program is particularly at risk because the diving well doesn't meet current standards, he said. The well is grandfathered, so diving competitions are still held there, but significant changes to the pool could trigger loss of that grandfathering, he said. School officials will have to be careful, if they go that route.

Losing grandfathering for the diving well would mean the loss of the diving program or seeing if it could be held at a neighboring school, Hyde said. If a school allows the Muskego dive team to use its pool, practices and meets would have to be worked in around the home diving team's schedule, he said.

Failure of the more than 30-year-old diving board would have the same effect. If it breaks, the district will not be able to contract for a repair or a replacement,” Jeremiah Johnson, buildings and grounds supervisor, has said.

Read or Share this story: http://www.muskego-newberlinnow.com/story/news/local/muskego/2016/12/12/athletic-improvements-muskego-high-may-go-forward/95213866/