Morgridge Family to Donate an Additional $1.7 Million Toward East High School Pool Project
The Wauwatosa School Board voted unanimously to approve an additional donation of $1.7 Million from John And Tashia Morgridge for the East High School aquatic space renovation during its meeting on Monday, September 9, 2019.
Along with the donation, the school board approved a matching expenditure of the same amount from the Wauwatosa School District’s operating budget to complete the work. The increased budget for the project is the result of structural challenges that were identified with the aquatic space during the preliminary design process.
“There are steel columns that hold up steel girders that hold up the roof. Those steel columns land right where the 8 lane pool needs to go,” explained Nick Kent with Plunkett Raysich Architect. “The gymnastics with holding up that existing roof, splicing the structure and moving those columns out are tremendous. So, through an analysis with CG Schmidt, it was determined that the best strategy is to pull the roof down and start over.”
Community feedback from user groups of the pool has been to expand the pool to eight-lanes versus just updating the current six-lane basins. Eight-lanes is the standard for competition and what is required for a school to host tournaments, which ultimately generates revenue.
Additionally, the existing deck space, while “grandfathered in”, does not meet current code, which is required if any updates are made to the pool. As a result, both pool basins – the multi-lane pool and the diving pool – need to be removed and reinstalled with more space between the diving well and pool, and another six inches between the locker room and pool. The current code requires another six inches of depth to be added to the pools as well.
“When we started to look at the limitations of the existing building, what it would take to modify the existing structure, several pieces suggested it’s better to take down the structure and start fresh,” Kent told the Board.
Melissa Netttesheim, manager of Buildings and Grounds, added that the District’s objectives for the renovation have not changed but our understanding of the existing site has changed.
The Proposed Solution & Design
(Pictured: Preliminary exterior design concept of renovated aquatic space at East High School)
In addition to removing and replacing the roof and existing pool basins, the walls of the building will be expanded to the south, toward Milwaukee Avenue, to accommodate the additional two lanes of the pool and the associated code requirements. More seating will also be added inside for spectators.
The diving pool will have a shallower end with stairs and an ADA accessible ramp, which allows it to serve as a secondary pool for community use through recreation department programming. The diving pool will also be a place for teams to warm up or practice.
The other top community feedback gathered on the project was to update locker rooms with more privacy and add a family changing/shower room, increase accessibility both with regard to universal access and broader community use and incorporate natural light into the design. The more regulated temperature of the pools – warmer for diving and colder in the 8-lane pool – was also a repeated request.
The board’s action on Monday night was only to approve funding for the pool/building work. A separate discussion will be held to discuss funding renovations of the locker rooms.
The $1.7 million that the District will contribute toward the pool project will be re-assigned from other capital improvement projects that were budgeted for in a long-range capital maintenance plan and are now being addressed by the referendum.
The anticipated timeline is for construction on the project to begin this November with completion in the fall of 2020. Because the building is being slightly expanded with an update to the exterior, the design will be presented to the City of Wauwatosa’s Design Review Board on September 19.