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S.L. residents hope to raise $500,000 for an 8-lane pool

SHARE S.L. residents hope to raise $500,000 for an 8-lane pool

A group of Salt Lake residents is seeking $500,000 in donations to ensure construction of an eight-lane competitive swimming pool and spectator seating at Fairmont Park in Sugar House.

Salt Lake County is putting $4.4 million into constructing a six-lane indoor pool, 2300 S. 900 East, to be connected to a leisure pool, said Walt Gilmore, Fairmont project coordinator for the county.But swim teams and teachers that may use the facility, including Highland High School, prefer eight lanes for competitive events. The community must raise more than $400,000 for two extra lanes, likely by the end of April, said Gilmore. Raised seating would bring the total to $500,000.

"It's a very doable amount of money, and surely the community is going to be putting forth the effort," said Southeast Community Council chairwoman Jan Haug, who says several corporate sponsors have donated.

Salt Lake's swimming pools have come under increased demand from swim teams and families with the closure of Deseret Gym, which housed two pools. No high schools in Salt Lake City School District have swimming pools. Highland and East high schools use Steiner Aquatic Center at the at the University of Utah.

"We've (the board) pretty much made a conscious decision that we can't afford swimming pools for our high schools," said Diane Barlow, vice president of the Salt Lake City Board of Education. "This is the next best thing we can do in joining with other government agencies to cooperate a little bit."

The school district gave Salt Lake City one-third of the cost of Steiner, Barlow said, and may be asked to donate to the Fairmont pool. The school board, however, has not yet received such a pro-posal.

Highland High's contract with Steiner expires within the next two years, said assistant principal Don Barlow. The swim team could stay at Steiner if Fairmont doesn't work out.

The county's project comes under a $50 million bond to speed construction of 12 recreation facilities. It will be repaid through the zoo, arts and parks tax.