MI School District ready to hire new operator for pool

The Board of Directors for the Mercer Island School District will vote on Thursday, Dec. 16, to hire a new manager to operate the Mary Wayte Pool.

Two potential operators came forward, and the board is set to hire Olympic Cascade Aquatics. According to its Web site, OCA is a coach-owned USA Swimming program that works with the Mercerwood Shore Club, the Mercer Island Country Club and its nonprofit volunteer booster associations.

The lease with OCA would be through Dec. 31, 2012.

The school district is taking ownership and control of the facility as stipulated by the original 1974 lease with King County.

In October, the pool existing manager, The Northwest Center (NWC) notified the school district and the City of Mercer Island that it would no longer operate the pool as of Dec. 31.

The school district and the city formed a committee to decide if and how the pool could be kept open.

The pool, formerly owned and operated by King County, was built with Forward Thrust bond funds on land leased from the school district. Due to budget concerns, the county abandoned the pool in 2003 and NWC took over operations for the facility to benefit both the school district and the city.

However, the pool hasbeen losing money and needs many costly repairs. But citizens and youth swim teams still consider the facility a key part of the community, with hundreds of swimmers using the facility each week.

The city presently extends a subsidy of $100,000 per year to keep the facility open. The city and school district will continue to keep the pool open for all swimmers and are planning to set aside funds to make needed repairs.

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