Swim lessons buoy Q.C. school district pool - East Valley Tribune: News

Swim lessons buoy Q.C. school district pool

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Posted: Sunday, September 20, 2009 12:13 pm | Updated: 2:22 am, Sat Oct 8, 2011.

Swimming lessons kept the Queen Creek Unified School District Aquatic Facility afloat financially throughout the summer. An average of 250 students a month came out to the district’s new pool to learn how to swim, said David Tait, owner of Gilbert-based EVO Swim School, which is running the aquatic activities for a fee at the pool through October.

Swimming lessons kept the Queen Creek Unified School District Aquatic Facility afloat financially throughout the summer.

An average of 250 students a month came out to the district’s new pool to learn how to swim, said David Tait, owner of Gilbert-based EVO Swim School, which is running the aquatic activities for a fee at the pool through October.

“Without (swim) lessons, this deal doesn’t happen,” Tait said.

Tait was giving an update Tuesday to district officials on how attendance has been at the pool since EVO Swim School started offering programs in May.

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The Queen Creek facility, on Chandler Heights Road west of Ellsworth Road, features an eight-lane competition lap pool, two diving boards, a shallow teaching area that’s 3 to 5 feet deep and two shaded bleachers.

The pool opened in May, built mainly for the district’s use after failed attempts to form a partnership with the town. Queen Creek High School’s swim team started practicing at the pool in August.

With the district’s limited budget, compounded by state budget cuts, the district didn’t have money to open the pool to the public and needed to find an outside company to run public programs.

The district canceled public swim sessions in June because so few swimmers participated. It wasn’t financially feasible for EVO Swim School to open the pool and pay for lifeguards when so few swimmers came out.

Competition from nearby Chandler and Gilbert pools, which have slides, splash pads and lazy river rides, likely lured swimmers away from Queen Creek’s public swim times.

“I don’t think public swim will be possible, except for holidays and district events,” Tait said. “(However) you built a pool the right way. Cities have to do public swim (although they don’t recoup their money).”

Superintendent James Murlless said the public swim sessions were offered only because the district thought it “owed it to the community.”

“But it doesn’t sound like they (the community) responded,” Murlless said.

A team in which children learned the competitive aspects of swimming was the second-most-popular program at the pool. In July, 39 swimmers participated, while 37 people came out during August, Tait said.

“The swim team did OK,” Tait said. “We want to offer more swim time (in the future) to offer more flexibility.”

Adult swim sessions steadily became more popular throughout the summer. Last month, 23 adults came out to swim, while 17 visited the pool in July, he said.

One family rented the pool for a birthday party, Tait said.

School board member Wendy Baggs said she has had “very positive” experiences at the pool.

Tait expressed interest in EVO Swim School running aquatic programs again next summer and asked district officials if he could start discussing a contract soon for next year.

“We have appreciated the opportunity,” he said.

If EVO Swim School gets the contract next year, Tait wants to host swim meets and regional swimming competitions at the pool and might offer diving lessons.

Besides expanding programs, Tait said he planned to put bar-style chairs inside the building so parents could watch their children practice from the window.

Shari Zara, Queen Creek’s chief financial officer, said this has been a “wonderful partnership” with EVO Swim School and “we really appreciate” it.

The Queen Creek district owns the $2.8 million aquatic complex, which was paid for mainly through a $2.5 million bond voters approved in 2002.

For information on remaining programs available at the Queen Creek district pool through October, call (480) 539-2660 or visit evoswimschool.com/queencreek.

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