It is hard to run a competitive swimming program with antiquated facilities.
The New Berlin Eisenhower swimming teams have found that out over the past few years, as the swimming pool at the school was no longer able to host competitive events due to it being too shallow. The pool was also not ADA compliant and had an insufficient HVAC system.
That will no longer be an issue, as Eisenhower spent $2.1 million to remove the old pool and construct a new one.
Because of the shallow depth of the old pool, swimmers were unable to use the starting blocks and divers couldn't use the diving well. The Eisenhower girls swimming and diving team had to host its home meets at New Berlin West, while swimmers and divers had practices at different locations. Boys swimming and diving is a co-op sport between the New Berlin schools in the winter.
"I am very excited for my team to be able to practice and compete in the same pool, and that pool is at our own high school," New Berlin Eisenhower girls swimming and diving coach Alyssa Bauer said. "It will be nice for my team to have an actual home pool again."
In 2014, a community survey showed New Berlin residents were in favor of replacing the pool at Eisenhower.
The New Berlin School Board approved a new pool as part of its 2015-16 budget. Construction on a new pool, HVAC system, bleachers and a scoreboard began Nov. 16, 2015.
The $2.1 million to replace the pool came from the sale of surplus properties. An additional $1.2 million, which went to replace the HVAC system, came from fund balance and borrowed funds.
The Eisenhower girls will hold their first meet at the new pool will be Aug. 27 when it hosts an invitational with Cudahy, Neenah, Waukesha North and Waukesha West. The Lions will welcome rival New Berlin West for a Woodland Conference meet Sept. 28.
Bauer, who is entering her fifth year at Eisenhower, felt having multiple practice locations had a significant impact on the makeup of her team.
"It's hard to coach a high school team that doesn't have an identity," Bauer said. "This year, we will be working on getting our identity back. Our divers and swimmers will get to compete together, at the same pool, which is huge."
The school will unveil the new pool at an open house at Eisenhower High School/Middle School from 5:30 to 7 p.m. Aug. 8.
The event is open to the community; however, only members of the Eisenhower and West swimming teams will be allowed to swim or dive. A ribbon-cutting ceremony will take place at 6 p.m.