Officials have chosen a site for the Mt. Edgecumbe High School aquatic center.
Anchorage Architect Brian Meissner visited Sitka recently to update the community on plans. Part of that was an announcement about the pool’s location.
“That’s the site of the old powerhouse or power plant. It’s where that huge old oil tank was, on the hill as you arrive on the campus there,” Meissner says.
The site was among four considered for the pool.
Meissner says it was the best fit for the campus.
“That location is real safe with easy access back and forth to the dorms and the hub of student life. And if just works as an extension of the campus,” he says.
The 10-lane pool will be 50 meters long and 25 meters wide. A meter is a little longer than a yard. (Scroll down to see possible configurations.)
Half the length is for training and diving, plus something for the kids.
“That end has a 5-meter platform. Programmatically, that’s in there to support trooper training and Coast Guard training. That also allowed us to get a slide in off of that same platform with minimal cost,” he says.
The pool will have several diving boards and a removable climbing wall. It will also have a ropes course for trooper training.
Plans call for a small, warmer pool that could be used for children’s swim lessons as well as physical therapy. But Meissner says it may not fit into the budget.
The pool will be open to locals. But a main focus will be Edgecumbe students, state troopers and Coast Guard crews, who will train and compete at the aquatic facility.
Meissner says many Edgecumbe students don’t swim.
“The opportunity is we’re going to be creating leaders with a lot of competence in the water who can take those skills back to their villages. And that’s just really cool. That couldn’t happen anywhere else,” he says.
Construction, design and related costs are expected to total $35 million. The project already has $25 million from the Legislature. Backers hope for another $10 million from next session’s capital budget.
If that‘s appropriated, crews could break ground next summer, with completion possible by 2015. If the funds don’t come through, Meissner says officials will either try again or scale back the design.
He says annual operating costs are expected to run about $1 million. That will be part of the state Department of Education’s budget request.
Images courtesy ECI/Hyer Architecture