Minnesota Study Finds Pool Requirement Too Expensive For High Schools

Jared Anderson
by Jared Anderson 4

February 28th, 2016 Club, News

A report in the Minnesota Department of Education has concluded that requiring every high school in the state to have a pool would be too expensive, encouraging schools to share facilities with communities, the Star Tribune reports.

Minnesota’s government was looking into the topic in response to several high-profile drownings over the past several years, the Star Tribune reports. The drownings spurred a conversation about the importance of swimming lessons and water skills to prevent youth drownings, especially within a state known for containing more than 10,000 lakes.

But providing swimming lessons for all public school students in the state would cost upwards of $550 million, the Star Tribune reports, based on a state group report prepared on request by members of the state government.

“I think the work group identified very early on that it wouldn’t be a practical recommendation to say all schools should have swimming pools and swimming instruction should occur in those swimming pools,” Minnesota Department of Education assistant commissioner Daron Korte told the Star Tribune.

The report recommended that schools partner with local community pools to try to include water safety in their physical education curricula.

But even that may be difficult, as some competitive swimming coaches within the state say finding pool space for their programs is an issue. Great Wolf Swim Team coach Dave Bentz recently started a fundraising campaign to bring the Olympic Trials warmup pool to the Minnesota city of Coon Rapids to serve what he says is a rapidly-growing competitive swimming population in the state that has outgrown the number of training facilities available.

Though Minneapolis does contain one of the nation’s top facilities in the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center – the pool that has hosted multiple NCAA meets and will host both Junior National and U.S. Open this summer – the University can’t fit in all of the club, high school, college and national meets that would like to use the facility. Bentz says a second major long course facility would help alleviate that burden.

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Denny Bennett, Minneapolis Swims
8 years ago

Kudos to the Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) Board of Directors and Interim Director Michael Goar for getting out ahead of this issue with their approval of a $1.75M Capital grant toward the re-opening and expansion of a long dry pool in the heart of Minneapolis’ Phillips neighborhood in 2015! For four years Minneapolis Swims (a 501c3 organization) has been working to raise the necessary funds to make this dream a reality. The MPS grant was the final piece of a private/multi-jurisdictional public partnership to make this happen.

The pool will be owned and operated by the Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board, and will have a 6 lane 25 yard competiiton pool with spectator seating and 1 meter diving, a 4… Read more »

8 years ago

Thanks to Swim Swam for providing coverage on this important initiative. Having more children comfortable and confident around water can only bode well for the sport of competitive swimming, which is where I am coming from. Having personally participated on the work group I want to comment on several things. One, the work group did not find the pool requirement to be too expensive for “high schools.” More accurately, in order to build a single pool for swimming instruction within the 218 school districts without their own pool, the total cost to the state and local taxpayers was estimated over $550 million. There was no specification about pools for high schools or just high school curriculum. Secondly, it is true,… Read more »

8 years ago

All the outdoor pools are now water parks. Enjoying a water slide will no stop a drowning.

Build Minnesota pools
8 years ago

Minnesota desperately needs more and better aquatic facilities. We have large numbers of club swimmers, and no indoor long course aquatic facilities in the Twin Cities, except for the U who are not the most generous with its usage. No one here can begin longcourse training at all until after Memorial Day, and even then, weather in early June causes lots of practice cancellations. It’s a miracle we have such awesome swimmers. The clubs have to battle for space in sub par outdoor pools, with limited time and lanes in which to train. Not sure what the point of my post is, except they will build hockey facilities right and left, but wont provide adequate facilities for children to learn… Read more »

About Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson

Jared Anderson swam for nearly twenty years. Then, Jared Anderson stopped swimming and started writing about swimming. He's not sick of swimming yet. Swimming might be sick of him, though. Jared was a YMCA and high school swimmer in northern Minnesota, and spent his college years swimming breaststroke and occasionally pretending …

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