033017 Capital projects: County and schools in talks over pools
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A high school swim meet at the Georgetown YMCA.

Capital projects: County and schools in talks over pools

By Charles Swenson
Coastal Observer

Georgetown County hopes to partner with the school district to build a competition-level pool as part of capital improvement plans under way by both entities. County Council is preparing a list of projects for the final phase of a capital plan that started 12 years ago. It includes pools in four areas of the county.

The school district is at work on renovations and expansions funded through a bond referendum approved by voters in November. It doesn’t include pools, but County Administrator Sel Hemingway said he has discussed the issue with School Superintendent Randy Dozier. “He’s very interested in making some facilities available,” Hemingway told County Council this week. “At minimum, he’s interested in creating a central competition facility.”

There are no public pools in Georgetown County, and various efforts have tried to fill that gap over the last 20 years, including a proposal tied to a school bond referendum in the 1990s.

Dozier could not be reached for comment. Hemingway said Dozier wasn’t ready to say what the district might do. “We will continue the dialog,” Hemingway said.

Among the options for the county are facilities that mix conventional pools with aquatic playgrounds. The cost estimates vary from $250,000 to $450,000, and those are for outdoor facilities. An indoor pool that allowed high school teams to compete and students to take swimming lessons would be more expensive to build and maintain.

The county estimates the cost of operating each outdoor pool would range from $88,000 a year for a 16-week season at 40 hours a week to $147,000 for 25 weeks at 70 hours a week.

“This is an important part of the equation,” Hemingway said. And the hours are also contingent on finding lifeguards. “Maybe the school district could add a lifeguard curriculum,” Council Member John Thomas said.

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