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									               May 16, 2012

          I.          INTRODUCTION ..................................................................................................................... 1
          II.         SUMMARY OF REPORT AND RECOMMENDATIONS ......................................................... 1
          III.             PUBLIC SUPPORT AND PERCEPTIONS ......................................................................... 3
PURPOSES, USES, AND FINANCING ........................................................................................................ 4
                 A.        Funding and Construction of the Nat, 1955-59 ................................................................... 4
                 B.        Original Uses of the Nat by the District and Community..................................................... 9
                 C.        Subsequent History of Nat Usage, Through the Eyes of Residents ................................. 15
          V.          CURRENT USES .................................................................................................................. 17
                 A.        UCHS Teams .................................................................................................................... 18
                      1.       The Boys and Girls Swim Teams ................................................................................. 18
                      2.       The Water Polo Team (Coed) ...................................................................................... 19
                      3.       UCHS Aquatics Teams’ Developmental Successes .................................................... 19
                      4.       Recent UCHS Aquatics Teams’ Competitive Successes ............................................. 20
                      a)       Water Polo, 2009 .......................................................................................................... 20
                      b)       Water Polo, 2008 .......................................................................................................... 20
                      c)       Water Polo, 2007 .......................................................................................................... 20
                      d)       Water Polo, 2006 .......................................................................................................... 20
                      e)       Water Polo, 2005 .......................................................................................................... 20
                      f)       Water Polo, 2004 .......................................................................................................... 20
                      g)       Water Polo, 2003 .......................................................................................................... 20
                      h)       Water Polo, 2002 .......................................................................................................... 20
                      i)       Men’s Swimming, 2008................................................................................................. 21
                      j)       Men’s Swimming, 2006................................................................................................. 21
                      k)       Men’s Swimming, 2005................................................................................................. 21
                      l)       Men’s Swimming, 2004................................................................................................. 21
                      5.       Achievements of Earlier UCHS Aquatics Teams ......................................................... 21
                      6.       Role of UCHS Aquatics in Preparation of College Athletes ......................................... 22
                 B.        UCHS Educational Use ..................................................................................................... 22
                 C.        SLAP Polo Club ................................................................................................................ 22
                 D.        Private School Use............................................................................................................ 23
                 E.        UCHS Boosters Summer Sports Camp ............................................................................ 23
                 F.        UCSC ................................................................................................................................ 23
                 G.        Masters Team ................................................................................................................... 25
                 H.        City Public Swim ............................................................................................................... 25
                      1.       Hours Open .................................................................................................................. 26
                      2.       Who Uses Public Swim ................................................................................................. 26

        VI.          NEW AND PLANNED USES BY ST. LOUIS SWIM STUDIO, LLC .................................. 26
                1.       Swim Lessons (Individual and group), Open to All ....................................................... 27
                2.       Winter Break Intensive Small Group and Open Swim .................................................. 28
                3.       Scholarships ................................................................................................................. 28
                4.       Employment .................................................................................................................. 28
                5.       Voluntary Improvement of the Nat Environment .......................................................... 28
                6.       Additional Programming Planned This Year ................................................................ 29
COMMUNITY HEALTH, SAFETY, AND RECREATIONAL NEEDS .......................................................... 29
           A.        Public Expression of Desire for Indoor Aquatic Facility .................................................... 30
           B.        Hours of Use ..................................................................................................................... 30
           C.        Not Meeting Vital Safety and Health Needs ..................................................................... 30
                1.       Swimming Combats the Obesity Epidemic................................................................... 30
                2.       Swimming Lessons Combat a Leading Cause of Death of Children and Teens ......... 31
                3.       Additional Health Benefits of Swimming for Children ................................................... 32
                4.       Towards Increased Student Interest and Use of the Nat ............................................. 32
        VIII.        POSSIBLE ADDITIONAL REVENUE-PRODUCING USES OF THE NAT ...................... 33
           A.        Appropriate Emphasis on Revenue, Balancing District and Community Uses ................ 33
           B.        USA Swimming Summary of Pool Programming Categories ........................................... 34
                1.       Learn to Swim ............................................................................................................... 35
                2.       Aquatic Rehab and the Continuum ............................................................................... 35
                3.       Community Health & Wellness ..................................................................................... 35
                4.       Youth Involvement on Swim Team ............................................................................... 35
                5.       Youth Aquatic Recreation and Exercise ....................................................................... 35
                6.       Special Needs Population Options ............................................................................... 36
                7.       Child Development through Family Activities ............................................................... 36
                8.       Community Aquatic Safety Programs ........................................................................... 36
                9.       Hosting Events .............................................................................................................. 36
           C.        What Other Pools in Our Area Do in Terms of Programming and Pool Rental ................ 36
                1.       MICDS ......................... Error! Bookmark not defined.Error! Bookmark not defined.
                a)       MICDS Pool .................................................................................................................. 37
                b)       Programming at MICDS Pool ....................................................................................... 37
                c)       Administration of MICDS Pool ...................................................................................... 38
                d)       Rental of MICDS Pool................................................................................................... 38
                2.       Ladue High School Pool (Ramming Athletic Center) ................................................... 38
                a)       Pool (Ramming Athletic Center) ................................................................................... 38
                b)       Programming at Ladue Pool ......................................................................................... 38

                  c)        Rental of Ladue Pool .................................................................................................... 39
                  d)        Administration of Ladue Pool ........................................................................................ 39
                  3.        Parkway School District Pools ...................................................................................... 40
                  a)        The View of the Nat from Parkway ............................................................................... 40
                  b)        Rental of Parkway Pools............................................................................................... 40
                  4.        Rockwood Summit High School Pool ........................................................................... 40
                  a)        Pool Rental ................................................................................................................... 40
                  5.        Lindbergh School District Pools .................................................................................... 40
                  a)        Pool Rental ................................................................................................................... 40
                  6.        Municipal and Community Organization Facilities ........................................................ 40
        IX.            THE CURRENT FINANCIAL AND PHYSICAL STATUS OF THE NAT ........................... 41
             A.        The District’s Presentation of its Financial Concerns About the Nat ................................ 41
             B.        A Few Words of Caution About Applying a “Business Model” or Treating The Nat As A
“Profit Center” ......................................................................................................................................... 42
             C.        Operating Budget Figures Presented in May, Adjustments to Them, and Projection for
2000-2010              43
                  1.        Adjustment to Custodial Services Expense .................................................................. 43
                  2.        Adjustment to Utilities Expenses .................................................................................. 44
                  3.        Offsetting Value Received From District Use and Value Provided to City ................... 44
                  4.        Projected 2009-2010 Revenue ..................................................................................... 45
                  5.        Nat Operating Budget Analysis (Table) ........................................................................ 46
             D.        Potential to Dramatically Improve Nat Operating Budget “Bottom Line” .......................... 47
             E.        Capital Expenditures Required To Continue Nat Operations ........................................... 47
                  1.        The List Presented At The May 2009 Meeting ............................................................. 47
                  2.        Two Very Different Perspectives on Proposed Capital Improvements ........................ 48
                  3.        Impact of Boiler Replacement ...................................................................................... 49
                  4.        Other Facts Improving Short-Term Outlook For Required Capital Spending ............... 49
                  5.        Further Downward Revision of Needed Short-Term Capital Spending ........................ 50
        X.        PROBLEMS WITH AND COSTS OF DECISION TO CLOSE .............................................. 51
        XI.            BENEFITS OF KEEPING IT OPEN .................................................................................. 54
        XII.           A TALE OF TWO CITIES’ POOLS ................................................................................... 55
             A.        Lake Washington School District, Near Seattle ................................................................ 56
             B.        The Philadelphia Story ...................................................................................................... 57
        XIII.          PLANS FOR KEEPING THE NAT OPEN NOW ............................................................... 59
             A.        View the Natatorium Remaining Open, and Students Learning To Swim, As a Life-Or-
Death Issue 59

             B.      Allocate Funding to Repair the Natatorium So It Will Last Until a Replacement Facility
  Can Be Funded and Built ........................................................................................................................ 59
             C.      Continue to Grow and Market Activities at the Nat That Both Generate Revenue and
  Serve a Greater Portion of the Community. ........................................................................................... 60
             D.      Increase Multi-Generational, Fee-for-Use Offerings at the Nat ........................................ 60
             E.      Cultivate Private, Rental Use of the Nat by Other Groups That Support University City
  Youth.             61
             F.      Support and Encourage Mary Lhotak’s Swim Studio to Become a Driver of Aquatics
  Growth in University City ........................................................................................................................ 62
FACILITY             63
             A.      USA Swimming and Its “Make a Splash” Initiative ............................................................ 64
             B.      Three-Pool Configurations Suit a Variety of Needs and Interests .................................... 65
             C.      Additional recommendations concerning facility amenities (as recommended by USA
  Swimming)          66
             D.      Need for Individuality, Citizen Input in Aquatics Facility Design ....................................... 66
             E.      Seven Pitfalls of Pool Project Development ..................................................................... 67
             F.      Some Approaches to Funding .......................................................................................... 68
         XV.         CONCLUSIONS/RECOMMENDATIONS ......................................................................... 68
             A.      Specific Recommendations to the School Board: ............................................................. 69

                                            I.   INTRODUCTION
        We appreciate that the School Board and District Administration are taking a community-based,
rather than top-down, approach in looking for a solution to the dilemma of our aging Natatorium in the
face of strong interest by the community and District students. It is in the spirit of grass-roots democracy
and partnership that this committee has worked since last May to investigate how to save and grow
aquatics in University City. It is as equal partners and invested stakeholders that this committee presents
these findings and recommendations.        The committee would also like to acknowledge the efforts of
Director of Operations Karl Scheidt in facilitating its work and taking a positive attitude towards meeting
the challenges posed by the issues covered by this report.

        The University City High School Natatorium has a splendid history as the premier aquatics facility
when it was built in the 1950’s. In the midst of the worst financial recession since the1930’s the citizens of
University City voted to tax themselves to build this swimming pool, which the community saw as an
investment in itself, a vital aspect of and contribution to the community’s quality of life. The Natatorium
was the home of championship swimming and water polo teams in the 1960’s and ‘70’s, as well the first
aquatic “home” of many of its citizens; most students from the District’s public schools learned to swim at
the “Nat” from the time it was built until the learn-to-swim program was stripped from the curriculum of the
School District in the 1980’s. Since that time, only a few private schools in University City offer swim
lessons at the Nat as an integral part of their curriculum.
        Currently, 3 aquatics sports teams for girls and boys, several swimming classes offered by the
UCHS Athletics Department during the school day, a University City-based swim club for children and
teens, an adult swim club, the championship water polo team of the St. Louis region, scores of citizens of
all ages who use the Natatorium for the few hours of recreational and lap swimming that are offered,
private groups who rent the Natatorium for lessons and parties, and a private swim school, all base their
activities at the Natatorium.
        The misperception that the Natatorium was neither used nor valued by many in the community,
while serving as a justification by the School Board and District Administration for the April 2009 proposal
to close a Natatorium, was incorrect then in May 2009. The view that the Natatorium is not used by many
is even less accurate today. Since fall 2009, there has been a growth in membership of nearly all of the
groups using the Natatorium; consequently there has been a concomittant increase in the number of
hours which the Nat is used for aquatics by both the School district as well as revenue-generating use by
non-district groups. Thus, the Natatorium is on its way to again filling its role of providing quality aquatics
for the entire community.
         This increased use of the Natatorium would not have been possible without the diligent work of
Karl Scheidt, Operations Manager for the School District, who has taken every opportunity to find

solutions to the building and operations challenges which our aging Natatorium faces as the result of
many years of neglect. The School Board’s generosity in extending the life of the Natatorium for the
current school year, rather than shuttering the Natatorium last summer, has made the already-made
repairs to the Natatorium possible. More importantly, keeping the Natatorium going for “one more year”
has allowed the growth of programs serving students and the rest of the community, as this report will

          This Committee recommends actions to include, but not limited to:
1. Continue operation of the Natatorium as a school district and community center for aquatics education,
sport, and other activities.
2. Perform immediately necessary repairs to the Natatorium to keep the facility functioning reliably while
investigating and working toward the construction of a new facility.
3. Re-instate swimming lessons into the curriculum of the School District of University City.
4. Continue and vigorously support aquatics teams at University City High School; encourage the use of
the Natatorium by the UCHS Athletic Training staff for therapeutic exercise for injured athletes and other
5. Creatively and energetically market the current public swim opportunities offered at the Natatorium,
both those included in the Centennial Commons year-round swim pass as well as activities which would
generate revenue to the Natatorium’s credit.
6. Continue the already-established partnerships with groups currently paying to use the Natatorium, as
this revenue also offsets Natatorium expenses.
7. Market and in other ways support the newly-formed St. Louis Swim Studio swim school, which provides
fee-for-service lessons and other activities for all, which offers scholarships for those with demonstrated
need, and whose lane rental fees help to offset Natatorium operating expenses.
8. Establish a committee with the mission of investigating current citizens’ interest in, funding for, and
specific plans/proposals/designs for a new aquatic center (because although we do love our “Nat”, it
might be on its last legs.)
9. Work closely with knowledgeable resources such as the non-profit group USA Swimming, which
provides expert information and guidance to groups seeking to establish aquatics facilities and programs
throughout the country. Both USA Swimming and ‘Make a Splash’, a group affiliated with USA
Swimming, should be consulted, as one of their core missions is to reach out to and help develop
aquatics programming for diverse populations, which University city is.
10. Seek funding for hiring a professional fund-raiser to head up a campaign to raise the very significant
amounts of money which will be necessary to build a quality, state-of-the-art aquatics facility.
Collaboration between a committee of citizen stakeholders and the aforementioned experienced
professional fundraiser would yield optimal results in researching, applying for, and being awarded grants
to finance the new facility.
11. Reach out to philanthropic organizations and individuals, including University City High School’s many
illustrious graduates, as a donor base for the anticipated new aquatics facility.
12. The citizen-taxpayers of University City--who own our current Natatorium and who will be the owners
of a new aquatic facility if it is built--should always be consulted in matters of programming, facilities
disposal/construction, and funding.
Each of these recommendations will be addressed in this report in much greater detail.

                               III. PUBLIC SUPPORT AND PERCEPTIONS
        When word spread through the University City community in the spring of 2009 that the School
Board was considering closing the Natatorium (“the Nat”), public interest in this issue was very high, as
shown by the overflow, standing-room-only crowd that attended the May public meeting at the Nat. The
size of this crowd rivaled those attending the series of community engagement meetings preceding the
April 2009 bond issue vote. Opinions expressed overwhelmingly favored keeping the Nat open.
        After discussing the issue with our friends and neighbors, the committee members believe that
the support shown by the attendance at the May meeting is just the tip of the iceberg of strong community
support for the Nat.
        On the other hand, the committee members believe we face several knowledge and perception
gaps that prevent even stronger support for the Nat by the community at large as well as the Board.
These knowledge and perception gaps include that:
        1.      The Nat’s very existence and availability for public use is not widely known throughout
        the community, as indicated by conversations with individuals who have lived in University City
        for substantial periods of time, yet been unaware of these basic facts. This lack of knowledge
        may lead to a perception that people are not interested or don’t care, when instead they are
        simply uninformed. This is a marketing and public relations shortcoming demanding a marketing
        and public relations solution. In business terms, “sales” of the “product” have not been down
        because it is without value, but because its value has not been properly sold.
        2.      The extent and diversity of the Nat’s current use by students and members of the larger
        community is not adequately understood. This may lead to a perception that very few people use
        and benefit from the Nat, making it unworthy of further financial commitments. This report will
        survey the nature and extent of current use of the Nat.
        3.      The dollars-and-cents value to the District of the Nat’s current use by students was left
        out of the original financial calculations of the cost of operating the Nat that were presented in
        May. This report will demonstrate how fairly taking this value into account favorably alters the
        Nat’s financial picture.
        4.      The potential increased educational use of the Nat to support critical public health and
        safety needs has not been adequately explored. Members of the committee are unanimous in
        supporting the educational value of learning basic swimming as a survival skill, as well as the
        value of swimming and other aquatic activities as healthy forms of recreation and exercise that
        can be continued year-round throughout a long life. This report will serve as a reminder that: (a)
        these values were once considered fundamental by the District and motivated the District’s
        original decision to construct the Nat; (b) they have been inadequately supported in recent years;
        and (c) current public health factors cause them to be more important than ever.
        5.      The substantial market for rental of indoor pool time is not fully appreciated, along with
        the diversity of programming opportunities that can capitalize on this market to help fund pool

          operations, such as individual and group swim lessons, increased public lap-swim access,
          various forms of aquatic exercise, special events, and various therapeutic uses. This report will
          summarize various possible ways to add revenue-generating uses to the Nat’s schedule, and
          how doing so might favorably impact the Nat’s financial picture, in light of what is being done by
          pools in neighboring communities.
          Additionally, the committee has concluded for a number of reasons that the administration’s initial
analysis of the financial challenge that continued near-term operation of the Nat presents to the District
should be revised in a manner that presents a more realistic and favorable picture. These reasons
include favorable developments relating to both operating costs and near-term capital needs.
          This report also considers alternatives for near-term and long-term maintenance of an aquatics
facility available to the District, including evaluation of near-term maintenance needs of the Nat and long-
term alternatives for rehabbing, expanding, and/or replacing the Nat.

                                   USES, AND FINANCING
          The history of the Nat provides an essential context for understanding and addressing the current
situation. Construction of the Nat was funded by a bond issue approved in a 1955 election, and it was
completed in 1959.
          The Nat was built during a decade (1950s) in which the District was under considerable financial
strain caused by the postwar baby boom and rapid construction of new suburban housing in previously
undeveloped portions of University City. Review of District newsletters from this era discloses the extent
to which this rapid growth was a mixed blessing. University City voters repeatedly approved large bond
issues for the construction of new school buildings and additions and renovations to existing buildings
that were needed to alleviate serious overcrowding. The growth strained District budgets. The desire to
reduce excessive class sizes and to increase teacher salaries to address high rates of teacher turnover
required tax rate increases.
          Despite these financial strains, the School Board and voters of University City supported
additional expenditures for construction of a swimming pool. The District undertook this major capital
project for two purposes, viewed as equally important: implementation of an extensive program of swim
instruction of District students, incorporated into the PE curriculum; and provision of a wide variety of
aquatic programming benefiting the entire community, including parochial and private school students.
Pursuant to this vision, “the Nat, intended to serve the whole community as well as the school, went up in
          A. Funding and Construction of the Nat, 1955-59
          Funding Information

  University City Schools: School District and School Building Historical Information, tab 23 page 9, University City
Historical Society compilation (maintained in University City Public Library archives) (emphasis added).

           The district was in the midst of an unprecedented period of growth and building construction due
to the baby boom. Since 1949, four new elementary schools had been constructed (in 1949, 1952, 1953,
and 1954), along with additions at five existing buildings; and the building that is now Brittany Woods
Middle School was under construction.           Enrollment was booming: while the average size for a grade at
the Senior High school level was only slightly over 400, kindergarten and primary grades averaged over
           In addition to the Nat, the 1955 bond issue funded additions and improvements at six District
buildings.       After briefly summarizing these projects, the January 1955 District newsletter explaining the
proposed bond issue stated regarding the Nat:
           In addition to these “musts,” many citizens of University City have indicated their interest
           in the building of an indoor swimming pool for the school and community use. The Board
           of Education believes that such a pool would be a desirable asset to the educational plant
           in that through the physical education program, all children during the course of their
           public school careers would have an opportunity to learn to swim.

           On December 13, 1954, this matter was presented by the Board of Education to the
           Parent Teacher Council.       After a prolonged discussion of the subject, it was the
           consensus that the indoor swimming pool should be considered as an integral part of the
           educational plant and should be included in the bond issue at an additional estimated
           cost of $300,000.

           Further conferences were held with a citizens committee early in January and they
           enthusiastically endorsed the complete building plan.

           As a result of these conferences it was the decision of the Board that the total bond issue
           for the special election on February 15, 1955, should include the cost for the swimming
           pool and should be set at $1,000,000

           Although the funding for the Nat was approved in the April 1955 bond issue election, the plan ran
into a roadblock when initial bids came in well over budget. The August 1956 District newsletter reported

   “Bond Issue to Complete Building Program; No Increase in Taxes,” University City Schools, a Publication of the
Board of Education of University City (January 1955) (maintained in University City Public Library archives).
   Equivalent to slightly more than $2,400,000 in 2009, per Bureau of Labor Statistics Inflation Calculator,
   “Bond Issue to Complete Building Program; No Increase in Taxes,” University City Schools, a Publication of the
Board of Education of University City (January 1955) (maintained in University City Public Library archives)
(emphasis added).

that the lowest bid was $631,000, exclusive of “architects fee and other modest costs.”                            Three
alternatives were suggested: (1) build a cheaper pool, for approximately $400,000, that “would have only
the bare necessities and might not be in conformity with the appearance of quality of the present school
building in University City; (2) “ask the people of University City for the additional funds needed to build a
swimming pool which could be pointed out as one of the best in the country, one designed to meet future
as well as present needs of the city’s schools”; or (3) “forget the swimming pool entirely and use the
money intended for its construction to pay for some of the additional classrooms” that were very much
needed due to continued explosive enrollment growth.
           When the District sought funding for these classroom needs in an April 1957 $2,200,000 bond
issue election, it expressly stated that none of this money was to be used for a swimming pool.                   The Nat
project had not been abandoned, however. The Board was resolved to pursue the first option described
above. As The District newsletter stated:
           A $350,000        item for a swimming pool was included in the bond issue overwhelmingly
           approved by voters in 1955.        It remains the intention of the Board of Education to
           construct a swimming pool for approximately that amount.

           It is the Board’s position that a swimming pool is necessary for an adequate program of
           education. Public school systems across the country that have swimming pools have
           found them a most valuable part of their educational plant.

           In September 1957, the District newsletter reported that preliminary plans for the Nat had been
approved by the Board of Education, detailed plans were being prepared by architects, and bid forms
would be sent out shortly, with construction to begin in early November and completion anticipated early
in 1959.
           The September 1957 newsletter provided a general description of the manner in which the Nat
was to be used upon completion:
           When the pool is completed, swimming instruction will begin as a part of the regular
           physical education programs at the elementary, junior high and high school levels,
           according to a Board spokesman.          Elementary and junior high school pupils will be

   “Citizens Asked To Form Advisory Group on School Building Needs,” University City Schools, a Publication of the
Board of Education of University City (August 1956) (maintained in University City Public Library archives).
  This article refers to the original estimate as being approximately $400,000, not $300,000, as in the previous article.
      “Pool Not Involved,” University City Schools, a Publication of the Board of Education of University City (March
1957) (maintained in University City Public Library archives).
     Yet another different statement of the amount originally estimated or approved.
     Ibid. (emphasis added).
    “Board Approves High School Site,” University City Schools, a Publication of the Board of Education of University
City (September 1957) (maintained in University City Public Library archives).

         transported to the new pool by school bus. It is anticipated that the pool will be open to
         all schoolchildren during after-school hours in the afternoons, and to the general public
         evenings and weekends, but no final policy has been determined by the Board, the
         spokesman said.

         The September 1957 newsletter article concluded with a mention of swimming pools in
neighboring school districts, with which University City presumably desired to be competitive:
         Swimming pools are now operated by public school systems in the Ladue and Normandy
         districts in St. Louis County, and the Clayton district has a school swimming pool under

         The December 1957 District newsletter reported that bids for the Nat totaling $ 333,528 had been
awarded -- less than the earmarked amount, which was stated this time as $350,000, and just over half
the previous low bid. The building was said to be scheduled for completion October 1, 1958, and the pool
was described as “Olympic size.”
         The investment in the Nat occurred at a time when there was not only substantial financial
pressure on the District to raise and spend capital funds to expand instructional capacity to serve the
booming school-age population, but also ongoing budgetary difficulties that sound very familiar.
         The February 1958 District newsletter discussed the relatively low starting salary for University
City teachers, the need to raise teacher salaries, the likely need to raise taxes to accomplish this, and the
fact that due to the relationship between the quality of the school district and home values “[p]property
owners who do not have children in the public schools benefit substantially from a good public system.”
Building and operating the Nat for the entire community may have been seen as a way to aid the District
in dealing with this perennial problem of appealing for votes to residents without children in the District.
         The same may be true today. Many current users, including not a few swim team (UCSC)
stalwarts, have no children in the District. The population is aging, so this will be true of increasing
numbers of voters.
         The Board’s persistence in re-bidding the Nat project, and its ultimate acceptance of a less
ambitious plan for the Nat, allowed it to be constructed within the original capital budget allocation.

   Ibid. (emphasis added).
     “Pool Bids Less Than Amount Allocated,” University City Schools, a Publication of the Board of Education of
University City (December 1957) (maintained in University City Public Library archives).
     “Relationship Between Teachers’ Salaries and Quality of Education Stirs Discussion, University City Schools, a
Publication of the Board of Education of University City (February 1958) (maintained in University City Public Library

         The March 1959 District newsletter reported on the completion and opening of the Nat.                  It noted
that the economies required to come within the original budget were achieved through the three-level
design (lobby, pool and lockers, and viewing and teaching area), which reduced the building’s perimeter
and allowed for the “stacking” of plumbing.         These factors are likely still comparative advantages relative
to many other swim facilities that are only two-level, particularly with regard to utility costs.
         This newsletter article also contains the following description of the building’s construction and
materials, which may be useful in planning future renovations:
         The building is reinforced concrete frame with brick and tile bearing walls and bar joist
         construction.    Exterior walls are brick with a contrasting brick on the front elevation.
         Windows and entrances are aluminum. Floors not finished in ceramic tile are finished in
         vinyl asbestos tile.

         The ceiling over the pool and balcony is perforated enameled aluminum pan, providing
         acoustical control with maintenance-free characteristic. Walls are finished in colored
         ceramic tile.

         A new type of fluorescent lighting consists of a trough around the pool except on the
         balcony side, 10 feet from the deck. The light will be reflected from the ceiling and walls,
         preventing excessive reflection from the water. The lights are easily maintained because
         fixtures are accessible from the deck.

         The deck around the pool includes radiant heat panels, to reduce the air movement in the
         pool area. This panel heating is assisted by ceiling diffusers which temper the air and
         remove excessive humidity.

         The Board’s prudent financial management during this era took advantage of fluctuations in bond
financing to obtain the best value for taxpayer dollars. Although it is unclear whether these funds directly
benefited the Nat project, the District newsletter reported in February 1958 that a five-month delay in
selling bonds had saved the District $400,000 in interest, due to a drop in rate from 3.9%-4% to slightly
more than 2.5%.        In an echo of our own time, it appears this substantial drop in interest rates correlated
with the sharp, but relatively brief, recession of 1958, then the worst since the Great Depression, during

   “Swimming Classes to Start in March; Fifth Grade and Evening Courses Scheduled,” University City Schools, a
Publication of the Board of Education of University City (March 1959) (maintained in University City Public Library
    Ibid. The article also identifies the original contractors, should this information ever be desired.
   “Delay in Seeking Bids Saves District $400,000,” University City Schools, a Publication of the Board of Education of
University City (February 1958) (maintained in University City Public Library archives).

which unemployment rose steadily from September 1957 and peaked at 7.5% in July 1958.                           Rather
than hunkering down and curtailing capital spending during this time of great economic uncertainty and
anxiety, the Board continued its ambitious building campaign, including moving forward with the Nat
project, taking advantage of sharply lower interest rates resulting, at least in part, from stimulative federal
monetary policy.
        As we now find ourselves in a similar macroeconomic situation, a lesson may be that we have, or
will soon have, an opportunity to finance needed capital improvements to the Nat, or its replacement, at
exceptionally low interest rates. Indeed, it is the committee understands that, as was the case in 1958,
the financing of the “Prop U” expenditures have been made substantially less expensive than anticipated
due to current low interest rates attributable to Federal Reserve monetary policy.
        B. Original Uses of the Nat by the District and Community
        The March 1959 District newsletter reporting on the completion and opening of the Nat                   offered
the clearest view of the Nat’s initial usage. It noted generally that “the Board of Education is offering use
of the pool to the University City Parks and Recreation Department at times when it is not being used by
the school system.”          This statement is particularly noteworthy for its express prioritization of District use,
as well as for the suggestion that the District was not charging the City for use of the Nat, made clear in
information released later.
        The March 1959 District newsletter also noted that operation of the Nat for public schoolchildren
was under the general direction of the District’s Director of Health, Physical Education, and Safety.
        The March 1959 District newsletter specifically mentioned the following District uses:
       1.        The Nat would be used by fifth graders every day except Thursdays.
       2.        The Nat would be used by high school seniors on Thursdays.
       3.        Other classes from high school and junior high schools would use the Nat during
                 after-school hours, with every junior and senior high student having had a chance
                 to use the Nat before the end of the school year.
       4.        A period was also planned for faculty recreational use of the Nat.
       5.        A District PE faculty member would teach would teach one-hour coed adult
                 swimming classes, for beginning swimmers (in shallow water, from 7 to 8 PM)
                 and intermediate level swimmers (in deep water from 8 to 9 PM).

    Bureau of Labor Statistics historical monthly unemployment data, available from For an eerily familiar
depiction of life during this recession, see “The recession of 1958,” TIME Magazine photoessay,,29307,1850639,00.html
    See Slesinger, “The Federal Reserve System and Current Monetary Policy,” The Analysts Journal, Vol. 15, No. 1
(Feb. 1959), p. 37, available online at (the Fed began tightening monetary policy in
August 1958 “[a]fter a period of some 10 months of trying to stimulate economic recovery through encouraging easier
   “Swimming Classes to Start in March; Fifth Grade and Evening Courses Scheduled,” University City Schools, a
Publication of the Board of Education of University City (March 1959) (maintained in University City Public Library
   Ibid. (emphasis added).

           Following the March 1959 opening of the Nat, the District wasted no time implementing the
swimming education program. By June 1959, the two swimming instructors had prepared a swimming
demonstration open to the public in which 90 fifth graders, ten from each of the nine elementary schools,
demonstrated “progression in swimming skills, from water adjustment to deep water swimming.”                     These
students, together with all other fifth-graders, had been “visiting the Natatorium once a week since the
middle of March for 30 minutes of instruction and eight minutes of free time,” with each session
supervised by their own PE instructor and the District’s two swimming instructors “acting as resource
           By the fall semester of the 1959-60 school years, the District’s use of the Nat was being
complemented by wide-ranging programming through the University City Department of Parks and
Recreation. In announcing this programming, the District stressed that it was for the benefit of the entire
community, stating it would be “open to all residents of University City whether or not they have children
in the public school system.”          The October 1959 District newsletter announced the following City
programming at the Nat, noting: “The instruction program is free of charge”:
           1.     Tuesday evening classes in senior life-saving, culminating in Red Cross certification.
           2.     Thursday evening “Ladies Nights,” during which women could swim from 7 to 9 PM for
           3.     Fridays at unspecified times, swimming instruction to children from St. Joseph’s Institute
                  for the Deaf.
           4.     Later on Fridays, instruction in advanced swimming and life-saving to the Boy Scouts of
                  University City.
           5.     All day Saturday, “Learn-to-Swim” program “open free of charge to all children in the third
                  grade and above in parochial and private schools, and to children of the third-year
                  primary, fourth, sixth, and seventh grades in the public schools.” (The article noted: “Fifth
                  and eighth grade children in the public school system receive swimming instruction
                  during the school day as a part of their regular health, physical education, and safety
                  curriculum.”) These classes were held in 10-week sessions, with five beginning classes
                  and one advanced.
           6.     Sundays, “Family Swim Days,” during which entire families could swim all afternoon from
                  2 to 5 PM for one dollar.

    “Swimming Demonstration To Be Given by Fifth-Graders at New Pool June 9,” University City Schools, a
Publication of the Board of Education of University City (June 1959) (maintained in University City Public Library
   “Swimming Pool Sessions Open to All; ‘Family Swim Days’ and ‘Ladies Nights’ Planned,” University City Schools,
a Publication of the Board of Education of University City (October 1959) (maintained in University City Public Library
    Equivalent to about $3.70 in 2009, per Bureau of Labor Statistics Inflation Calculator,

             The relationship between the District, as owner of the Nat, and the City, as operator of community
programming, was clearly spelled out; and is essentially the same as it is today (except the City now
offers much less programming at the Nat to the community):
             Under the terms of an agreement between the school board and the city council, the
             school system has made the indoor swimming pool available to the city at times when the
             pool is not used for school purposes. The school system provides the pool itself, all
             facilities, utilities, water, and maintenance, and a custodian-engineer without charge to
             the city. The city maintains its swimming program at no cost to the school board except
             for the facilities indicated. The swimming pool remains the property of the school board
             and subject to its jurisdiction. The city furnishes a schedule of dates to the school board
             each year for its approval.

             The City soon expanded its programming at the Nat. In January 1960, the District announced
that the Parks and Recreation Department was “organizing a swimming team open to all University City
boys and girls 11 years of age or older.”            The announcement stated that “[o]organization of the team
[was] made possible through the cooperation of the University City School Board,” as the Nat would be
used; that the team would “operate the year around”; and that practice would be Saturdays 10:30 AM until
noon.        Additionally, “the policy of the University City swimming team [would be] to coordinate with the
University City school system, the Missouri State High School Athletic Association, and the AAU.”
             Although now run as an independent organization in cooperation with both the City and District,
the University City Swim Club (UCSC) is a direct successor to this team. At some point the high school
competition aspects of the team came under the direction of the athletic department of University City
High School.
             A more short-lived event that also took place in January 1960, during the Nat’s first year, was a
special presentation at the Nat on “Drownproofing,” featuring Fred Lanoue, a professor of physical
education at Georgia Tech.           Attending were all University City public school health, physical education,
and safety teachers and 100 invited guests. The teachers practiced the “drownproofing” method under
the Professor Lanoue’s supervision, with one teacher commenting that “[t]he skills learned ought to make
an excellent contribution to our swimming program.”

     Equivalent to about $7.40 in 2009, per Bureau of Labor Statistics Inflation Calculator,
   “Swimming Pool Sessions Open to All; ‘Family Swim Days’ and ‘Ladies Nights’ Planned,” University City Schools, a
Publication of the Board of Education of University City (October 1959) (maintained in University City Public Library
    “City Organizing Swimming Team,” University City Schools, a Publication of the Board of Education of University
City (January 1960) (maintained in University City Public Library archives).
     Ibid. AAU stands for Amateur Athletic Union. Since enactment of the Amateur Sports Act of 1978, amateur
swimming has been governed by the swimming organization currently known as USA Swimming, but previously the
AAU was the governing body.
    “‘Drownproofing’ Explained” (headline, two photos, and captions only), University City Schools, a Publication of the
Board of Education of University City (January 1960) (maintained in University City Public Library archives).
     Professor Lanoue designed the “drownproofing” program, which was mandatory at Georgia Tech for years and
very       rigorous,   including     jumping      in     clothed      and     staying      up      for    an      hour.;

        As the second full school year of Nat operations rolled around (1960-61), the City again
expanded its swim programming there. The District newsletter emphasized the great extent to which the
Nat was being used by the City when not being used by the District, stating: “activities will be conducted
at the pool every weeknight except Monday; all day Saturdays; and Sunday afternoons.”                     Significant
changes announced included:
             1. Some of the Saturday “Learn-to-Swim” time would be used for swim team instead, and
                 additional swim team practices would be added. Success in quickly building swim team
                 membership can be inferred from the fact that practices were split by age group, with 11-
                 12-year-olds practicing from 6 to 7 PM Tuesday and Wednesday, and from 10 to 11 AM
                 Saturday, and those over 13 practicing from 6 to 7 PM Thursday and 11 to noon
             2. An additional Family Swim time would be added Thursdays from 7:30 to 9 PM, with
                 individual pricing of $.50 added to the previously announced option of an entire family
                 swimming for a dollar. This suggests the previously initiated Sunday Family Swim time
                 had been a success, and perhaps Ladies Night (originally scheduled for Thursday
                 evenings) had not been.
             3. An additional “Teenage Swim” time would be added Tuesdays from 7 to 9 PM, for $.25
                 per person. To accommodate this, life-saving would be changed to Wednesdays.
             4. In addition to the Boy Scouts, scheduled for 8 to 9 PM Fridays, Girl Scouts would be
                 scheduled from 7 to 8 PM Wednesdays. This use of the Nat was at no charge, probably
                 because the Scouts provided their own adult supervision, obviating the need for the City
                 to provide lifeguards, and also perhaps as a reflection of the high regard in which
                 Scouting organizations were held in those days, as well as the District’s dedication to
                 community use of the Nat.

        The above information regarding District and community use of the Nat in 1959 and 1960,
immediately after it opened, allows an approximate reconstruction of the original weekly schedule of Nat
use, which may be compared to the current schedule.                 Graphic depictions of these schedules are
attached as Appendixes ____ and ____. Comparison of these schedules shows the more complete and
varied usage of the Nat in its earliest days compared to the present day:

    “Winter Swimming Program Set by City; Recreation, Learn-to-Swim and Special Programs Set,” University City
Schools, a Publication of the Board of Education of University City (October 1960) (maintained in University City
Public Library archives).
     Equivalent to about $1.80 in 2009, per Bureau of Labor Statistics Inflation Calculator,

   Some approximation is involved because although some uses are described in terms of specific hours per week,
others are stated generically, such as “all day Saturday” for Learn to Swim programming.

                   Then the District used the Nat for 35 hours weekly, with other uses occupying 22 hours,
                    for a total of 57 hours weekly.
                   Now the District uses the Nat for 27.5 hours weekly, with other uses occupying 15.5
                    hours, for a total of 43 hours weekly.

         The difference of 14 hours weekly has a potential market value, at $7-$10 per lane per hour, over
a 38-week season, of about $22,000-$32,000.
         The following is a checklist summary comparing the uses of the Nat at its inception to the current
Nat Use                                 1960                                   2010
Fifth Grade mandatory PE swim           Yes                                    No
instruction, with bussing
Eighth      Grade    mandatory     PE   Yes                                    No
swim instruction, with bussing
Swim instruction for all other          Yes, free                              No
children,    including    those   not                                          Revived this    year    thanks   to
enrolled in District schools                                                   committee efforts, but only for a
                                                                               fee that may be high for low-to-
                                                                               moderate      income      families.
                                                                               Scholarship opportunities can be
Adult swim instruction                  Yes                                    No
                                                                               (But   City   found    what   some
                                                                               summertime demand recently at
Jr. High and High School PE use         Yes, after regular school hours        No
                                                                               Not routine mandatory PE use,
                                                                               but only as part of elective High
                                                                               School classes or High School
                                                                               varsity teams. No Jr. High level
High School varsity swim and            No (though City team apparently        Yes
water polo teams                        was    either   competing   in,   or
                                        preparing swimmers for, MHSAA
Life-Saving instruction                 Yes                                    Yes
                                                                               Through City’s Heman lifeguard

                                                   training and High School elective.
Faculty swim time   Yes                            No
Family swim time    Yes                            No
                                                   Not as such. Lane lines are
                                                   always up and often in use for
                                                   lap swimming during public swim,
                                                   making      it    less     appealing       to
                                                   children and families desiring
                                                   general          water      play         and
                                                   recreational use.
Ladies Night        Attempted, may not have been   No
                    successful                     But interest has been expressed,
                                                   and, quaint as it may sound,
                                                   there is likely a market, at least
                                                   among those preferring this on
                                                   religious grounds, who represent
                                                   a significant voting population.
                                                   For similar reasons, men-only
                                                   times might have a market.
Teenage Swim        Yes                            No
                                                   Due to the peer influence factor,
                                                   reinstating      this    could      be    an
                                                   excellent way to increase interest
                                                   in high school aquatics; not to
                                                   mention that supervised, safe
                                                   gathering         places      for        teen
                                                   entertainment are always highly
                                                   desirable, yet in short supply.
St Joseph’s         Yes                            No
                                                   (No longer in community, having
                                                   moved to Chesterfield, but there
                                                   may       be       other      analogous
                                                   institutions,      including        private
Boy Scouts          Yes, weekly                    Occasional
Girl Scouts         Yes, weekly                    No
                                                   But interest has been expressed.

Year-Around Swim Team                      Yes, through City/MHSAA/AAU          Yes
                                                                                Through UCSC/USA Swimming

           The historical resources maintained in the University City public library that were used to prepare
the preceding narrative of the Nat’s earliest days, District newsletters, could most likely be used to
continue that history into more recent years, identifying when various District and community uses were
altered. However the committee feels that for purposes of this report the most important history is that
described above, which establishes the following very important background facts for decisions regarding
the Nat’s future:
                1. The Nat’s original cost and funding, which, when properly corrected for inflation, provide
                       a context for evaluating current and future cost and funding options.
                2. The Nat’s original community purposes and uses, which demonstrate that, unlike any
                       other District building, the Nat has always been expressly viewed as in part a community
                       facility, and originally was extensively used for a variety of community programming.
                3. The Nat’s original educational purpose, which demonstrates the extent to which the
                       community and District supported the goal of basic swimming instruction as an essential
                       element of “physical education, health, and safety” (as the responsible department of the
                       District was then known).
                4. The fact the City did not initially pay for using the Nat, but provided programming and,
                       presumably, guards, which provides context for the current relationship between the
                       District and City regarding Nat use.
                5. The appearance that generating revenue through user fees to cover building and pool
                       operating expenses was not a concern of the District. Presumably, this was because of
                       the strong community support for building the Nat and the understanding that the
                       taxpayers using the Nat were already supporting the District through taxes. Those fees
                       that were charged by the City were likely viewed as designed solely to cover staffing
                       costs for swim instructors and lifeguards.

           C. Subsequent History of Nat Usage, Through the Eyes of Residents
           Residents who used the Nat, as students or community members, provided the committee with
numerous recollections of the Nat’s District and community use, including the following.
           Elsie Glickert, a long-time resident and former City Council member recalls that because
swimming lessons were provided to every student in the District, it was a reasonable requirement of high
school graduation that one had to pass a swim test.
           She also states:

     Elsie Glickert.

         “Social service agencies and special schools housed in University City serving children
         with special needs benefitted; for example, St. Joseph’s Institute for the Deaf and Marcita
         Hall, a facility for children awaiting foster care placement, would swim at the Nat. Park
         Department employees and teenage volunteers worked with children from these
         institutions to teach the kids to swim and to help with lifeguarding. These teen volunteers
         were thereby exposed to professions they might not otherwise have encountered and,
         subsequently, some went on to become professionals in deaf education and social

         Many diverse aquatics programs were hosted over the years at the Nat, in partnership
         with the St. Louis Community College.

         Family recreational swim was held several evenings a week as well as on Saturday and
         Sunday afternoons.

         At least into the mid-1960s, some Catholic school students had swimming lessons at the Nat as
part of their PE instruction.
         Well into the 1970s, swimming was still a mandatory part of PE instruction for all fifth and eighth
graders, according to one resident who was in fifth grade in 1969-70 and 8th grade in 1972-73,                  another
who had mandatory PE swim lessons as an eighth grader in 1973-74,                      and one who recalled being
bussed to the Nat and learning to swim there in about 1974 and also having lessons in high school in the
late 1970s.        A member of the UCHS Class of 1977 states:
         Students were bussed probably about once a week for a period of time, probably 6-8
         weeks. Swimsuits and towels were provided. Swim lessons were based on the kid’s
         ability level, everything from basic ‘never been in the water before’ to diving. It was NOT
         optional. There might have been some way for a parent to opt their kid out (for some
         serious reason -- like on religious grounds) but I don’t remember anyone getting out of
         it…. The High School had swim teams (they were sex segregated) and a water polo

    Similarly, one UCHS alum from the Class of 1978 recalls: “I helped to teach special ed students, as well as adults,
in the evenings.” Bart Vossen, UCHS 1978.
    Bart Vossen, UCHS 1978.
    Sue Smorodin, UCHS 1977.
    Bart Vossen, UCHS 1978.
    Paul Entwistle, UCHS class of 1978.
    Sue Smorodin, UCHS 1977.

          Several people have said that at one time, possibly well into the 1970s, in order to graduate from
UCHS, one was required to pass a swim test.
          In the 1970s, the Nat and its programming was a strong positive influence on many young
people. One member of the UCHS Class of 1978 recalls:
          “Because of the swimming classes I had to take in 8th grade, I went on to become an all-state
          athlete in water polo and swimming three or four times, as well as three-time state championships
          in water polo. … I even practiced with the Water Polo National team a couple of years! Without
          the Nat, I would have been just another good looking soccer player! The pool connected many
          people of all races, ages, etc”.

          Mr. Don Casey, MICDS Head Aquatics coach, grew up in U City, went to District Schools, and
graduated from UCHS. He was a much-decorated swimmer and water polo player. Mr. Casey recalls
that the Nat used to have similar programming to what MICDS has now,                with “activities going from 6 AM
till 10 PM every day -- not so much on Sundays” all during the school year. Similarly, a member of the
UCHS Class of 1978 recalls that the Nat was open and used from early morning until the evening,
sometimes late in the evening, 6 days a week, by both the District and the community:
          The Coach would get to the Nat at 6 or 7 AM, put on a swim suit, and start working. He
          taught swimming lessons, coached the varsity and JV swimming and water polo teams,
          taught scuba diving (students could get certified in scuba at UCHS if they wished), and
          also taught Red Cross-certified lifesaving. Also, the Nat was used by injured athletes
          such as football players who needed to exercise while taking the strain of gravity off their
          injury -- for example, the football player would do “water walking” in the pool so as to
          keep in shape while taking weight off of his injured leg.

          The larger U City community also used the Nat a lot.            During the week, there was
          recreational and lap swimming after the varsity teams were done practicing around 5:30
          or 6PM. On Saturdays, there were swimming lessons all morning for kids; then there
          was open/recreational swim and lap swimming all afternoon.

                                                  V. CURRENT USES
          Some may perceive that the Nat is not used very much, and it is true that the committee does feel
it is underused, relative to its potential. However, in fact, the Nat is used for a wide variety of purposes by
District students, other University City residents, and others. This section of the report surveys such use.

     Paul Entwistle, UCHS class of 1978, recalls this was still true in his day.
     Bart Vossen, UCHS 1978 (emphasis added).
     Information provided by Mr. Casey regarding current MICDS pool usage is discussed below.
     Paul Entwistle, UCHS class of 1978.

        A. UCHS Teams
        High school athletics is one of the worthiest uses of the Nat. It benefits exclusively District
students, thus justifying expenditures as for any other part of the high school athletic program. It keeps
University City “in the running” in a suburban region in which swimming and water polo are major sports
with high participation numbers at many schools. UCHS is in one of the most competitive conferences in
the state for aquatics. The Parkway and Rockwood swim clubs are very large, and they feed all the
Parkway and Rockwood high schools, which field large teams that regularly win or place highly in the
state championships.
        It should be noted that at UCHS, swimming and water polo are truly diverse sports. Our teams
are comprised of students of various races and backgrounds. Last school year (2008-2009) about half
the students on our swim and water polo teams were African American. An even greater portion is African
American this year. Learning to swim and compete in aquatic sports is no longer a predominantly “white”
activity at UCHS.
                 1. The Boys and Girls Swim Teams
        The boys and girls swim teams at UCHS use prime pool time in the after-school period weekdays
for practice. These teams have a history of significant accomplishments and appear to be resurgent,
particularly the girls team.
        Currently there are 29 students on the girls’ swim team for the 2009-10 winter season (over 30
came out for the team initially).
        This represents unprecedented, explosive growth. Just a few years ago, this team had as few as
four girls. At the 2006 Conference Championship, it was so small it was unable to field a four-swimmer
freestyle relay team. In view of this recent history, UCHS girls’ swimming is in the midst of a remarkable
comeback and may very well produce some State-competition qualifying swimmers in the near future.
        Some results are already being seen in competition. The season is not yet over, but the UCHS
girls have two wins (compared to zero for the entire season last year).
        More important than the numbers is the commitment many of these girls have to their “pool
home,” the Nat. The girls have been coming to practice early and staying late to do a scrub of the “scum
ring” around the pool, which is similar to that in a bathtub. A St. Louis Swim Studio, LLC, employee who
is on the girls team began this job voluntarily and the team graciously took it over. This task, which is
done regularly by staff at other pools, has not been properly performed in years; many users of the Nat
have commented about the obvious ring, which is right at eye level when one pauses for a breather
during a workout. St. Louis Swim Studio, LLC, supplied the supplies for manually removing the filth of
many years. The pool appearance is quite improved and many patrons of Swim Studio and the City open
swim, as well as UCSC team swimmers noticed the efforts and thanked the girls.
        There were 8 students on the boys’ swim team this fall, but it was larger in some other recent
years, and as shown below, has had some very successful swimmers over the last few years.               In

swimming, simply qualifying for State championships is a very significant achievement, and a number of
UCHS boys have qualified for State in recent years.
                    2. The Water Polo Team (Coed)
        It is anticipated that there will be ___ young men on the water polo team this spring, and several
girls are planning to join the team as well, so a total of 15-20 students is anticipated for the spring 2010
water polo season. Our current head water polo coach was twice named “Coach of the Year” by the
Missouri Water Polo Association. We have developmental opportunities for training future UCHS water
polo players while still in junior high school through association with the St. Louis Area Polo Club (SLAP),
which currently uses the Nat for some regular practice hours for a junior-high-school age group, and
could be using it for more, as discussed below. The SLAP head coach has expressed interest in working
with more students from Brittany Woods Middle School. Just as a developmental field hockey team at
Brittany has strengthened the UCHS field hockey program, working with SLAP in this regard would
strengthen the UCHS water polo program which, as discussed below, has a long history of success, both
during the past decade and previously.
                    3. UCHS Aquatics Teams’ Developmental Successes
        Both the high school swim teams and the water polo team have been very successful in
developing swimmers and polo players, including from complete nonswimmers. Every season, coaches
Kurt Tuegel and Tony Thomas welcome any student who wishes to join onto the swim and water polo
teams. Every year several (2-4) students with marginal or no ability to swim do join the team, and these
coaches transform these young people into competitive aquatics athletes.
        For example, a student who was a nonswimmer at the beginning of the season will typically, by
season’s end, be able to compete in the 500 Yard Freestyle. This race entails swimming 20 lengths of a
regulation swimming pool without stopping. As the parent of one of these new, strong swimmers said, “I
am thrilled that I no longer have to worry about my son possibly drowning just because he falls into a
swimming pool at a party.”
        Furthermore, several of these new swimmers go on, every year, to play water polo, a sport that
demands strong swimming skills, and which people play up through their 70’s. Currently, several of these
newly-taught swimmers play water polo with the very competitive St. Louis Area Polo club, (SLAP) which
hosts practices at our Nat.
        The Nat has a long history of such development of water polo players. The Clayton Mens’ Water
Polo team has several times competed against powerhouse national teams and won, as recently as a few
short years ago. Many of these “older guys” got their start learning to swim at the Nat.
        More immediately, the UCHS aquatics programs have had a significant record of success in
preparing athletes for Conference and State-level competitions. In swimming, this means achieving State
qualifying times.

4. Recent UCHS Aquatics Teams’ Competitive Successes
5. Water Polo, 2009
              One UCHS player selected Suburban South Conference Player of the
               Year by unanimous vote of all conference coaches.
              One player selected for the Missouri All-State second team
              One player selected for the All-Conference first team
              One player selected for the All-Conference second team
              Although several of our players could not swim at all the previous
               year, they helped our team defeat John Burroughs twice, and at
               season’s end were handily able to compete in entire 50 minute games at
               the St. Peters all-deep-water Rec Plex for conference playoff games.)

6. Water Polo, 2008
              Second Place in the Suburban South Conference
              Two players selected for the All-Conference first team
              Two players selected as All-District athletes

7. Water Polo, 2007
              Second Place Rockwood Summit High School Invitational
              Three players selected for the All-Conference first team
              One player selected for the All-Conference second team

8. Water Polo, 2006
       Due to MHSAA moving water polo from the fall to the spring there technically
       was not a 2006 season: Water Polo was played in the fall of the 2005-006 school
       year, and in the spring of the 2006-2007 school year.

9. Water Polo, 2005
       1st Place, Rockwood Summit HS Invitational
              Three players selected as All-State athletes
              Four players selected as Suburban South All-Conference athletes

10. Water Polo, 2004
              1st Place- Rockwood Summit HS Invitational
              One player selected as an All-State athlete
              Four players selected as Suburban South All-Conference athletes

11. Water Polo, 2003
              Suburban South Conference Tournament Champions
              1st Place- Rockwood Summit HS Invitational
              Three players selected as All-State athletes
              2 Suburban South All-Conference athlete selections

12. Water Polo, 2002
              One player selected as All-State athlete

                   13. Men’s Swimming, 2008
                                   Two Individual State Championship qualifiers for the 50 Yard Freestyle
                                   Two Individual State Championship qualifiers for the 100 Yard Freestyle
                                   One State qualifier for the 200 Yard Individual Medley

                            Additionally, three students joined the swim team totally unable to swim and
                            ended the season competing in Freestyle, Backstroke, and Breastroke. All of
                            these students went on to play Water Polo in the Spring of 2009.
                            (There was no swim season in 2007, although the sport was held:
                            due to moving water polo to spring and swimming to fall, swimming took place in
                            the spring of 2007-2008, and the fall of 2008-2009)

                   14. Men’s Swimming, 2006
                                   One Individual State Championship Qualifier for the 50 Yard Freestyle
                                   One Individual State Championship Qualifier for the 100 Yard Freestyle

                   15. Men’s Swimming, 2005
                                   Four Individual State Championship Qualifiers
                                   Four State-Qualifying Relay Teams

                   16. Men’s Swimming, 2004
                                   Two Individual State Championship Qualifiers
          As the records above indicate, UCHS regularly sends high school swimmers to the State
championships. These swimmers make it to the top using swimming skills honed not at a state-of-the-art
rec-plex, but at our own Nat, often through participation in the UCSC swim club as well as UCHS
                   17. Achievements of Earlier UCHS Aquatics Teams
          The committee has not attempted to reconstruct the achievements of earlier decades in any
detail. However, it has learned from various sources that when swimming was an integral part of the
District’s PE curriculum, such that every student learned to swim, the UCHS aquatics teams were even
more successful than as noted in the above records from recent years.
          For example, from 1975-1978, the water polo team brought home one First Place Junior Varsity
State title, two First Place Varsity State titles, and one Varsity State Second Place award.            While
championships are not the only, or even the best way to judge the quality of a program, the strong
support for athletics which our school district used to provide, beginning with swimming lessons at the

     Paul Entwistle, UCHS class of 1978.

grade school level, certainly could be considered to be a contributing factor in the strong showing in
aquatic sports at the high school level.
                  18. Role of UCHS Aquatics in Preparation of College Athletes
        In recent years, a number of very competitive UCHS swimmers and water polo players have gone
on to collegiate aquatics competition. Even for those attending NCAA Division III schools, which cannot
grant athletic scholarships, an applicant’s status as a dedicated swimmer may facilitate success in
admissions and financial aid. Currently, several UCHS graduates who developed their aquatics skills at
the Nat are college athletes on swimming and water polo teams. These include:
                 One is currently co-captain of her college swim team as a senior, capping a college
                  career in which she swam primarily butterfly, individual medley (IM) and middle-distance
                  freestyle events.
                 In the fall of 2009, two were members of the team that won the Southern California
                  Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship in water polo.
                 One was a member of the men’s swimming relay team that broke the all-time pool record
                  for the Pomona/Claremont College pool in Claremont California.
        You might wish to ask each of these students whether they believe their athletic accomplishments
in high school were an asset in their college acceptances and scholarships.
        These varsity aquatics programs are as valuable to the overall high school athletic program as
any others. Although presently a smaller percentage of the student body is involved in them relative to
some other sports, these programs have been growing recently.          Moreover, many other public high
schools in districts with which we may be compared have extremely strong and successful aquatic sports
teams, suggesting it is both possible and desirable to strengthen these programs.
        We hope to see these swimming and polo teams continue to grow and flourish. Progress in this
regard would be greatly enhanced by increased emphasis on teaching swimming fundamentals at lower
grade levels. And, of course, if UCHS were to be deprived of its pool these valuable programs would
wither and die.
        B. UCHS Educational Use
        One swim class was offered in the fall of 2009, with eight students. In the spring of 2010, the
class was offered again, with lap swimming added for those not requiring basic swimming instruction.
Ten students are enrolled. Coach Tuegel is the teacher.
        This use of the Nat by UCHS, its home school, is a weak shadow of the once vigorous PE
swimming instruction program that covered elementary, junior high and high school students, ensuring
that no student in the District would be vulnerable to death by drowning, and providing a steady supply of
swimmers and water polo players to UCHS aquatic teams, as well as UCSC.
        C. SLAP Polo Club
        The Nat is also rented by the St. Louis Area Polo club (SLAP).              Because SLAP offers
scholarships for students who need them, and is able to practice at UCHS’ Nat rather than at an outlying

suburb’s pool (such as Rockwood Summit as in the past), our student athletes have an opportunity to
further develop their water polo skills beyond the regular water polo season, whereas in the past this
opportunity was not available to them.
              Additionally, SLAP is now using the Nat for a younger, developmental group that includes some
District students as well as some private and parochial school students residing in University City. SLAP
has expressed interest in additional use of the Nat. In fact, based on the belief that the Nat would not be
available for this purpose, SLAP scheduled pool time at the St. Charles Boys and Girls Club for
tournament games, although the Nat would have been a preferred location, according to the SLAP head
              D. Private School Use
              The Nat is also rented by the St. Michael School, a private school in Clayton, to provide
swimming lessons to its students. The swimming lessons, which have taken place annually for several
years, occurred during five sessions, during the school day when the Nat was not in use. The St. Michael
School paid the District $990 to rent the Nat for these five sessions.                 The school is interested in
continuing to rent the Nat for these swimming lessons, as they are an integral part of its curriculum.
              E. UCHS Boosters Summer Sports Camp
              An annual sports camp has been hosted by the UCHS Athletic Boosters for nearly 10 years.
Although for several years not enough students signed up for the swimming/water polo portion of the
camp to justify conducting that portion, this year was definitely different. Nearly 20 students enrolled for
the swimming/water polo program in 2009. This suggests that interest in learning to swim, swimming
competitively, and playing water polo is increasing, not diminishing.
              F. UCSC
              Since the early days of the Nat, the University City Swim Club (UCSC) has called the Nat its
home.          UCSC currently uses the Nat between 5:30 PM and 7 PM Monday through Thursday, and
between 8:00 and 10:00 AM Saturday. UCSC also includes a Masters team for swimmers over 18,
discussed separately below.
              This competitive youth swim team has provided early experiences and off-season swimming to
countless UCHS swimmers over the years, including the UCHS swimmers mentioned above who
qualified for State in recent years, and the club’s present coach, Jon Lane, a UCHS graduate who still
holds a record for the Ozark region achieved when he was 11.
              UCSC is a member of USA Swimming, the national governing body for the sport of swimming in
the United States. UCSC provides coached swim practices for youth from five or six years of age up
through high school age.            UCSC is open to all, and provides year-round learning, training, and

     Teresa Eppert, St. Michael’s school athletic director.
  See the above history indicating UCSC traces its roots directly to the first swim team created by the City Parks and
Recreation Department in 1960, shortly after the Nat first opened.

competitive opportunities to a wide variety of swimmers. Compared to some other area swim teams, the
UCSC team is not highly competitive or demanding, although there are always some team members who
are very successful competitors in their age groups.
          UCSC swimmers participate regionally in competitive swimming, with approximately 10 swimmers
attending an average of 1 swim meet per month. Also, the club hosts two well-attended swim meets
annually at the Nat. April 25-26, 2010, UCSC will be hosting a small club invitational meet. Swimmers,
parents, and coaches from other teams routinely comment on their enjoyment of these meets, which tend
to be somewhat smaller and therefore shorter in overall duration, due to space limitations at the Nat.
Additionally, UCSC is actively developing qualified meet officials who serve at meets throughout the
          Generally, UCSC coaches have placed less emphasis on obtaining a certain time or place in an
event than on individual improvements. Each accomplishment is an opportunity for heightened self-
esteem, whether it be “promotion” to a faster lane, simply making it through their first meet (which can be
quite a stressful experience), or advancing from just swimming a dozen or so laps to putting in over a mile
during a single practice. Swimmers also learn important lessons in self-discipline, following directions,
          Currently, UCSC has 46 members between the ages of 4 and 17, (22 girls, 24 boys).                   16
swimmers are in the “Stroke Development” group, meaning they can make it across the pool in some
fashion, but need fundamental work on their strokes and on getting more comfortable in the water. More
advanced swimmers continue to work on: improving their four strokes (freestyle, backstroke, breaststroke,
and butterfly); conditioning and endurance; and competitive essentials such as proper starts and turns.
          Unfortunately, in recent years, UCSC has not had sufficient numbers of swimmers to support lane
rental payments to the District. Upon becoming aware of the financial situation that led the Board to
consider closing the Nat last spring, the UCSC Board reviewed its budget and fee structure and made
adjustments so that reasonable rental payments could be covered.
          As a result of these changes, UCSC has contributed $2,000 toward lane rental this school year,
and anticipates raising an additional $3,000 via a swim-a-thon to further reimburse the District for use of
the Nat. UCSC projects that the total amount paid to the District for Nat usage for the 2009-2010 school
year will be around $10,000.
          Additionally, the UCSC Board is working on improved marketing to increase enrollment, which
hopefully will allow higher levels of payment in future years.
          Lastly, the District’s affiliation with UCSC as an important user of the Nat affords some important
opportunities to obtain first-class consultation related to pool facilities and programming, as well as
discounts on pool-related services. USA Swimming, the parent organization to which UCSC belongs, has
three full-time staff members devoted to: (1) consulting with member clubs in the areas of building and

   Swimmers, coaches, and parents often spend many long hours at larger meets waiting for events that are over in
just seconds or minutes, so it is a treat for all to attend a meet with shorter sessions.

renovating pools; (2) working with public sector entities such as school districts and municipalities on pool
facilities; and (3) developing, scheduling, and staffing programs to meet the diverse needs of aquatic
        Significant services of this nature are available at no charge not only to member clubs
themselves, but also to entities involved in building or maintaining pools used by member clubs, such as
the District. The UCSC Board has been in touch with these USA Swimming specialists and has their full
support in efforts to keep adequate swimming facilities in University City available and utilized in a
financially viable manner.

        G. Masters Team
        UCSC also includes a Masters team for adults ages 18 years and over. Currently, this group
swims at the Nat in the early morning (6:00 AM – 7:00 AM) Tuesdays and Thursdays and 8:00 AM-10:00
AM Saturdays. Although this Masters team is not highly oriented towards competition, members of this
team have the opportunity to swim in age-group competitions at Masters meets.             Not merely a lap
swimming group, the Masters team is coached by the UCSC head coach, thus providing both appropriate
stroke improvement instruction and challenging and varied workouts.
        This Masters team, conveniently located in the heart of University City, provides an excellent
fitness opportunity for a significant number of adults from many different neighborhoods and generations.
        Currently, eleven people are enrolled in the UCSC Masters team, between the ages of 26 years
and 72 years. These people demonstrate that swimming truly is a fitness activity for life, which cannot be
said for many high school sports.
        H. City Public Swim
        The City Department of Parks, Recreation and Forestry uses the Nat to provide public indoor
swimming opportunities during the spring, fall, and winter seasons.           Although all holders of full
memberships in the City’s Centennial Commons Recreation Facility are provided unlimited access to the
Nat during public swim hours, the City does not contribute to the Nat’s maintenance or capital expenses
(although it does provide lifeguards for public swim).
        This means that some Nat usage that otherwise might provide revenue through direct rental of
pool time to other parties or through user fees paid to the District for programming such as swim lessons
or water aerobics is effectively being donated to the City instead.
        As discussed above, the history of the Nat demonstrates that this provision of pool time to the
City for the benefit of the residents, with no charge to the City, was part of the original proposal the
taxpayers agreed to fund in 1955. Additionally, this is not a one-way street. The District benefits from
free use of City recreational facilities, including baseball and soccer fields and tennis courts used by
UCHS teams.
        Therefore, the potential revenue sacrificed to provide the City use of the Nat free of charge for the
benefit of the entire community must not be considered part of a revenue gap or as contributing to the Nat

being a money-losing proposition.       Rather, as with the District’s own use, such City use should be
considered to provide a benefit accounted for as imputed rent or as an offset against expenses.
                 1. Hours Open
        The current City public swim hours are 6:00 AM to 7:00 AM Monday, Wednesday, and Friday;
7:30 PM – 9:00 PM Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday; and Noon – 2:00 PM Saturday.
                 2. Who Uses Public Swim
        A number of taxpayers currently use the Nat for health/therapeutic reasons, for example, to
alleviate symptoms of arthritis; to improve health in the face of diabetes; and to engage in rehab following
hip or knee replacement or for enhanced rehabilitation following a stroke or heart attack or cardiac
surgery. There is a significant group of people who enjoy exercising at our Nat, where citizen-taxpayers
from all over University City come together with other swimmers. Most of these swimmers could go
elsewhere, but choose to swim at the Nat because it is more than just another swimming pool -- it is a
hub of the community, and it is ours.
        Each of these public swim users have paid the City Parks and Recreation Department for the
right to use the Nat, as part of complete Centennial Commons memberships or swimming-only passes.
        Fifty-three people are on the City’s list of night and weekend users. Of these, 11 to 15 are
identified by City lifeguards as regular or frequent users.
        Thirty-two people are on the city’s list of morning users. Of these, 7 to 9 are identified by City
lifeguards as relatively regular or frequent users.
        These are two distinct groups. City lifeguards identified only one person as a regular user in both
morning and nights and weekend time slots. Additionally, these are not fixed groups. While some on the
list have not used the Nat for a while, others are handwritten additions to the list maintained by the
lifeguards, indicating they used the Nat for the first time relatively recently.
        Thus, in total, City records identify 84 residents as occasional Nat users, with 17 to 23 identified
by lifeguards as regular or frequent users.
        These facts suggest that the times of day the Nat is available for public swim impacts and limits
its usage, and that there is a significantly larger pool of users than appears to the casual observer who
only sees some public swim sessions and seems to always see the same people.
        While the Nat committee has been reviewing options, gathering information, and preparing this
report, programming at the Nat -- with the attendant revenue potential -- has not remained status quo. To
the contrary, in addition to taking steps to obtain significant revenue contributions from UCSC, committee
members have taken active steps to add a variety of programming that will benefit the community, the

   Description provided by Elsie Glickert.
    On-site investigation at Nat in January 2010; summary of records maintained there by lifeguards. These records
include a typed list of users, with their attendance logged and handwritten additions.
   These numbers discount the one user identified on both morning and evening lists.

District’s athletic programs, and UCSC. Some of this new programming is already underway and more is
planned in the coming months.
        Since the summer of 2009, when the Nat committee began discussing potential revenue-
producing programming, a high priority was bringing swimming lessons back on a private basis. We were
very fortunate that our wishes coincided with the desires of Mary Nani Lhotak, a longtime University City
resident, to build a swim lesson business. Ms. Lhotak is presently working, as a contractual employee of
the District, in the capacity of assistant coach of the UCHS girls swim team. Additionally, she is employed
by UCSC as a Stroke Development Coach for the youngest swimmers. She is well qualified, having
achieved coaching certifications from both the Missouri High School Athletic Association and USA
        Ms. Lhotak had started her own swim instruction business as St. Louis Swim Studio, LLC (“Swim
Studio”), but her efforts were stymied when the owners of the pool she was using were unable to comply
with the recent changes in drain safety requirements. In the fall of 2009, it was clear that she was
interested in moving her business to the Nat, and she reached agreement with Mr Scheidt on hours and
lane rental terms ($7.00 per lane per hour; $35.00 per hour for entire pool).
        Thus far, this programming has generated $1,100 of rental income for the District. Anticipated
growth should multiply this amount.     Additionally, the lessons provided by Swim Studio are already
serving to help build UCSC, which will allow it to provide more revenue to the District. UCSC does not
take swimmers until they are able to at least swim one pool length confidently (face in). Seven students
of Swim Studio, LLC, have already progressed in their skill to this point and joined UCSC. This is a
natural transition, as Ms. Lhotak coaches the least experienced UCSC swimmers, so these young
swimmers can change organization (Swim Studio to UCSC) while continuing to swim at the Nat with
guidance from the same adult. Swim Studio has specific plans and target dates to begin a number of
additional programs before the end of this school year.
        The following sections of the report describe specific programs and actions initiated by Ms.

Lhotak, doing business as St. Louis Swim Studio, LLC, since the fall of 2009.

                1. Swim Lessons (Individual and group), Open to All
        Small group lessons are taught by Ms. Lhotak and a deck assistant, with no more than five in a
group, below the commonly recommended maximum of six swim students per teacher.
        The fall small group lessons served 9 students in two ability groupings, providing half-hour
lessons 1-3 times weekly for nine weeks.
        Private (one-on-one) lessons served an additional seven students aged 4-70, each of whom
received four or more such lessons..        These half-hour lessons were held on weekday evenings,
Saturdays, and Monday and Friday mornings between September and December 2009.

                 2. Winter Break Intensive Small Group and Open Swim
        For seven days During the District’s winter break, Swim Studio provided intensive (more frequent)
lessons to 11 students in two ability groupings. Enrollment fees of approximately $12 dollars per day
included bringing a guest twice, so a total of 22 children were engaged during this program.
        This offering also included a supervised open swim experience. The enrolled swimmers and their
guests had use of the entire pool (lane lines removed), for over an hour, including various supervised
activities. Two Swim Studio employees, a lifeguard and a deck assistant guided recreational activities
including diving for “treasures” (old jewelry), playing deep end water polo and shallow end basketball,
water play with pool accessories like noodles and floats, and even a crazy game of orange tag using real
oranges. Coached lap swimming and kicking was also available at this time. Is this something children
enjoy? Ms. Lhotak answers, “It was a blast.”
        The only publicity for this programming was a group email sent through U City Public Schools E-
Groups and printed materials and email sent to fall students of Swim Studio. Ms. Lhotak plans more such
events, and states, “More publicity would be great through partnership with the District.”
                 3. Scholarships
        Swim Studio provided scholarships to three children based on their participation in the Federal
Free and Reduced School Nutrition Program. Scholarships reduced fees by two-thirds. Swim Studio
funded these scholarships directly. This represents over 15 percent of the students, exceeding Swim
Studio’s original target of 10 percent.
                 4. Employment
        Swim Studio has already created several jobs, and it anticipates additional hiring as it grows and
rolls out new programs.
        Current employees are in the classifications of Deck Assistant and Lifeguard. The former must
be certified for American Red Cross CPR and First Aid or Junior Lifeguarding, and receive wages of
$10.00 an hour. The latter must be ARC Lifeguard certified or have other Lifeguarding certification, and
receive $14 an hour. Hiring of additional teachers is anticipated as the Swim Studio program grows.
Teachers with appropriate aquatic certifications will be paid $18.00 and up, depending on experience and
qualifications. These wages significantly exceed those paid by the City to lifeguards and swim instructors
at the Nat and Heman Park, so in addition to aquatic programming, Swim Studio is providing quality jobs
to the community.
        Additionally, with the encouragement and support of Ms Lhotak, at least five of the UCHS girls
swim team members are placing applications with the City for summer employment at Heman Park.
                 5. Voluntary Improvement of the Nat Environment
        The safety, cleanliness, and visual appeal of the Nat is increasing due to the efforts of Swim
Studio. A Swim Studio employee began a major cleanup of the pool involving scrubbing the grease ring
around the pool gutter. Her teammates on the UCHS girls swim team took up the challenge to join her,

and the job is almost complete six weeks after it began. Swim Studio provided the supplies for this task
of manually removing the filth of many years.
          Ms. Lhotak cleaned the Nat office and training closet of unsafe or outdated equipment. Removal
of several large items from the office increased visibility from the office to the pool.
          Swim Studio is donating new black and gold backstroke flags to replace the “used car lot” multi-

colored ones. Delivery of these school-color functional items is expected in February 2010.

                   6. Additional Programming Planned This Year
          Swim Studio currently has the following plans to expand its programming and develop interest in
aquatics and use of the Nat:
          1.        Continued cleanup of the Natatorium (“scrub a dub dub we are cleaning out the ring
                    around our great big tub”)
          2.        February 2010: Public water assessment sessions.
          3.        February 2010: Girl Scout/Boy Scout swim programming.
          4.        February 2010: Form Aquatic Club at University City High for expansion of aquatic
                    opportunities for youth
          5.        March 2010: Apply for a partnership with the USA Swimming Foundation’s “Make a
                    Splash” initiative.    This partnership would provide a number of benefits, including
                    branding, marketing, and potentially grant money for additional scholarships to expand
                    swim instruction of lower-income children. It might even enable a special visit by Make a
                    Splash representative Cullen Jones, the third African-American to make the US Olympic
                    swimming team.
          6.        March 2010: Private school partnerships for aquatic education and special needs swim
          7.        April 2010: Begin continuous year round lessons, continuing over the summer at Heman
          8.        April 2010: Middle school/high school swim group).
          9.        April 2010: Middle school Friday night swim.
          10.       April 2010: Triathalon swim coaching.
          11.       Fall 2010: Day-off-school swim clinics.

         Another partnership between Swim Studio and the Girls swim team is the formation of a swim
lesson working group by the team to institute swim workshops for youth in our area. This project is a
community service in which they will provide low cost swim experiences, progressing to lessons. These
sessions are supervised by two paid lifeguards with team members volunteering as in water trainers.
Rollout is projected for Spring 2010. The swim lesson working group is scheduled to assist a district
Junior girls scout troop with their water safety badge on early release February 24. At least five of the
girls swim team members are placing applications with the City for employment at Heman Park.

          Despite the Nat’s existence, and despite its use for the impressive array of nine distinct District
and community purposes described in Section V.A.-G. above, there is considerable unmet community
demand in University City for indoor aquatic opportunities, as there are considerable periods of time each
week during which the Nat sits empty. To a considerable extent, the limited public use is a function of


limited availability and limited programming, outreach, and marketing, not lack of demand or opportunity
for additional use.
        A. Public Expression of Desire for Indoor Aquatic Facility
        In 2003, in the process leading to the city’s successful Prop K campaign, which funded the
Centennial Commons project, a citizens committee conducted a public survey.                    Among adults
responding, the single most frequently requested amenity was a new indoor pool.            Nevertheless, when
the voters approved Prop K and Centennial Commons was built, he requested indoor pool was omitted
from the project, leaving this substantial community demand unmet. Other, less-requested facilities that
were included in Centennial Commons are very well used, so there is no reason to believe that the same
would not be true with aquatics, given proper availability, programming, and marketing.
        B. Hours of Use
        In 1960, based on the historical information discussed above, the District used the Nat
approximately 35 hours a week. This was for swim instruction, not athletic teams. The City provided
community programming at the Nat for 22 hours a week, resulting in a total weekly usage of 57 hours.
Currently, the District uses the Nat for only 27.5 hours a week, primarily for athletic teams. Other parties
use some additional time, but for much useable time the Nat sits empty. This is in contrast to neighboring
pools, which are heavily scheduled.      The missed revenue opportunity due to this fact is discussed
        C. Not Meeting Vital Safety and Health Needs
        WHY is it so important for us to return to the “good old days “ of the Nat? That was then, this is
now…and, way back then, back in the day, how many kids were obese? How many kids developed
diabetes, high cholesterol, cardiac problems, greater risk of asthma, hepatic steatosis, and sleep apnea,
as a result of a sedentary lifestyle ? How many kids couldn’t swim, and were at risk of drowning, because
they never had been taught? How many kids, instead of swimming and otherwise being active, chose to
sit at home in front of a television on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon?
                 1. Swimming Combats the Obesity Epidemic
        According to the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the obesity rates for
both boys and girls have skyrocketed over the past decade as compared with 1988-1994. Please refer
below to the summary of several studies which sadly capture these trends:
        Adolescent Boys and Girls Prevalence of Obesity by Race/Ethnicity
                             (Ages 12-19 Years)
                                      1988-1994      2003-2006
Non-Hispanic Black Males                 10.7%            18.5%
Non-Hispanic White Males                 11.7%            17.3%
Hispanic Males                           14.1%            22.1%

         Bob     Winters,   Prop    K    committee    member;    Partial   Reprint   of    Prop   K    Report,

Non-Hispanic Black Females                13.2%            27.7%
Non-Hispanic White Females                7.4%             14.5%
Hispanic Females                          9.2%             19.9%
         Our kids are not getting fat because they are bad, or any lazier than you or I were as kids.
However, our kids are getting fat and very unhealthy because of less and less opportunities being
afforded them by the very communities which are supposed to be helping them develop healthy, active
         Many children in the City of University City could not afford to join the Center of Clayton or the
Heights at Richmond Heights so as to take swim lessons or engage in recreational or lap swimming.
Many could not get to those locations because they are certainly not within walking distance. Developing
evening and weekend recreational swim periods at our Nat, affordably priced, could open up much-
needed opportunities for exercise. According to the Centers for Disease Control, exercise is a very
effective way to control obesity, and furthermore, swimming is one of the most beneficial of exercises
from the standpoints of calories burned, cardiac workout, and low incidence of impact injuries.
         If we are looking at the Nat as purely a “cost center,” how much does it “cost” for each person
who develops Types II diabetes secondary to obesity and a sedentary lifestyle, and goes on to lose a limb
or two or perhaps her eyesight? How much does it “cost” for one person to have a very limited lifestyle
and a shortened lifespan after he suffers a heart attack related to a sedentary lifestyle?
                 2. Swimming Lessons Combat a Leading Cause of Death of Children and Teens
         Again, let’s look at the Nat as a “cost center” with respect to the costs of a death by drowning. As
noted previously, the Nat was used in its first three decades as a place for people of all ages to learn to
swim. Again, remember that every student who graduated from University City High School had been
taught to swim and passed a swim test. According to the Centers for Disease control:
         Drowning is the leading cause of death for infants and young children in 18 states, and
         nationally, ranks only 2nd to automobile accidents. Drowning is the second-leading
         cause of injury-related death among children under the age of 15….Children under five
         and adolescents between the ages of 15024 have the highest drowning rates….
         Between 2000 and 2004, …the fatal unintentional drowning rate for age 5-14 African
         Americans was 3.2 times higher than that for Whites.
         When our school district discontinued swimming lessons as a part of the curriculum over 20 years
ago, we effectively took away the opportunity for many of our district’s children to learn to swim. Of
course, some children can go over to Heman for a week or two of swim lessons. However, the far greater
frequency of the lessons that had been provided at UCHS by a seasoned, well-trained aquatics
professional (as opposed to lessons provided by well-meaning, marginally-trained teenage swim teachers
at Heman) were far more effective in turning non-swimmers into swimmers. Also, the few weeks that
swim lessons are provided in the summer at Heman Pool, as well as the optional nature of lessons for
which one must sign up and pays, taken together, have allowed all too many U City students to avoid the

very swimming lessons which could one day save their lives and always allow them the health benefits of
swimming for exercise.
          Finally, remember that over 90% of the students at University City High School are in the highest
risk group for drowning death: African Americans of school age. So now, in 2010, when 90% of our high
school’s population is in the greatest risk group, how can we not resume teaching every student who will
graduate from University City High School how to be water safe and how to swim? Closing the Nat will
cancel any possibility of reinstating the very learn to swim program which our students need so much
more than the lower-risk White students in Rockwood, Clayton, Ladue, and elsewhere.
                  3. Additional Health Benefits of Swimming for Children
          Mary Lhotak, owner of St. Louis Swim Studio, LLC, swim instructor, and swim coach, comments:
          As a swim instructor I regularly get comment from parents about how swimming helped
          calm their agitated child or focus an inattentive student. (Olympian Michael Phelps has a
          similar story.) Some children need an all out physical activity like swimming to conform to
          school and family norms of behavior. The winter intensive session provided an example
          of this. A bouncy 9 year old took four daily Swim Studio lessons. His mother noted less
          conflict in the home immediately. She now brings him to UCSC twice weekly. Credit the
          child for learning so quickly, the mother for bringing him despite other family demands,
          Swim Studio for providing a scholarship, and the benefit goes to his teachers and family
          (he is in U City Schools, and no doubt his teachers have noted the change since winter
          break). I often think situations like this keep some kids less medicated, or away from
          certain medication, just through a few minutes of exercise a week

                  4. Towards Increased Student Interest and Use of the Nat

          It may appear unrealistic to hope for strong student support for and participation in aquatics. It is
true that aquatics may not currently be perceived as fun or exciting by many students, and that swimming
and water polo may not be sports that have recently had high rates of participation at UCHS or that will
ever rival football or basketball in that regard. But peer influence and some strong role modeling can
rapidly turn the seemingly “uncool” into the “very cool” in short order.
          Who would have expected that the University High School auditorium would be packed with
loudly enthusiastic fans to listen to and watch poetry readings and dance concerts? After all, poetry and
dance could be seen as such boring, old-fashioned, effeminate pursuits. But these days the crowds pack
the auditorium -- on weekend nights -- and participate joyfully (boys and girls) in the poetry and dance
events.    How did this come about?       It seems to have occurred through the determination of a few
students and faculty members to make it happen, and the natural spread of interest once sufficient
numbers of students became involved.
          Interest in aquatics can spread the same way. This is already happening with the women’s swim
team, which has grown very rapidly in just the last few years, from a scant handful to 29 currently. The
committee would like to give it a further push by screening the movie “Pride” at the UCHS auditorium.
This movie is based on the true story of a charismatic schoolteacher in the 1970s who changed lives
forever when he founded an African-American swim team in one of Philadelphia’s toughest

neighborhoods. And he did it in response to the threatened closure and demolition of the old recreational
facility containing the pool!
        A. Appropriate Emphasis on Revenue, Balancing District and Community Uses
        One reason for the virtually nonexistent revenue figures that made the Nat look like such a
“money pit” at the May 2009 public meeting is that the Nat was never expected to generate revenue, so
no efforts were made to systematically develop revenue-generating programming. Having never tried
this, it would be foolish and premature to declare it a failure.
        The widely-held and historically and practically justified perception of the Nat as a community
facility -- and the success with this approach that is being enjoyed by pools owned by other public and
private schools -- supports now initiating serious efforts to use the Nat to provide a greater quantity and
variety of opportunities for community use.       It likewise supports looking at ways to obtain additional
revenues to support Nat operations through such community use.
        Increasing community use of the Nat for a variety of purposes could substantially increase
revenue, helping cover the Nat’s operating costs. However, consideration must be given to balancing
revenue-generating community programming with athletic and/or educational programming for the benefit
of students. There are inevitable trade-offs. For example, some of the times of day that are most
valuable for revenue purposes are also the ones that are most desirable for school athletics or for any
revival of PE swimming instruction.        Important as it may be, revenue-generation through broader
community programming should not take priority over the District’s mission of serving its students.
        Although, as noted, there is to some extent a conflict between District athletic and educational
use and revenue-generating community programming in that each unit of pool time must be used either
for a non-revenue-generating athletic/educational purpose or for a revenue-generating one, there is a
great deal of potentially usable pool time, so both purposes can be served quite well. For example, the
Nat could conceivably be used from 6 am through 10 pm Monday through Friday and 8 am through 6 pm
Saturday and Sunday, for a total of 100 hours a week.
        Additionally, consideration must be given to the historical status of the Nat as a joint District-
community facility, with the community expecting use of the Nat at reasonable prices in exchange for the
taxpayer support that built and maintains the facility. At the most basic level of taxpayer understanding,
the Nat is no different than Heman Park Pool in its status as a public asset. That it is supported by an
different tax revenue stream and owned and controlled by a different public entity -- important as this fact
is for financial and operational purposes -- does not detract from the fact that taxpayers pay into both
revenue streams and thus have an interest in and perceived ownership of both facilities. This interest
and perception is supported by a history of public use going back to the Nat’s inception.
        The taxpayers of University City who voted in the 1950’s to fund the building of the Nat did not
expect it to generate enough revenue to cover all of its operating expenses, but felt they were funding a
“public good.” (Similarly, when the other athletic venues were built, it is suspected that the voters who

supported their construction did not expect those facilities to generate enough revenue to “pay for
themselves.”) In fact, the original arrangement for the Nat was that the School District’s budget would
cover operating expenses including those that could have been considered allocable to the City Parks
and Recreation Department programming.
        It was implied by the District’s financial analysis in the May 11 presentation that the Board
effectively viewed the Nat as a “profit center,” not worth maintaining because of the significant gap
between revenues and expenses. The committee suspects this approach is not taken when analyzing
the costs of other academic, athletic, and extracurricular programs at UCHS.            Surely the wrestling
program, the volleyball program, or the English or Art Departments are not expected to earn enough
revenue to cover their yearly operating expenses. The committee strongly questions the appropriateness
of putting only the Nat under such scrutiny, and requiring that the Nat “pay its own way” if other programs
are not placed under similar scrutiny and subject to similar financial requirements.          The unrealized
potential for the Nat to raise revenue is an advantage, not a disadvantage; these other programs lack
assets that when not in use by students command such substantial market demand and value. Yes, the
Nat could earn more revenue, and maybe even eventually cover most operating costs, but failure to do so
now is not evidence of its worthlessness.
        Although the community has a reasonable basis for expecting to have continued use of the Nat
on fair terms, and although the committee does not believe such a strict “profit center” approach to the
Nat is appropriate, there are many forms of aquatic programming that are routinely offered on a fee basis
at many nearby facilities. Providing revenue-generating programming can be consistent with providing
community use on reasonable terms. A reduced fee structure for residents strikes a fair balance, being
the practice not only at Heman Park Pool, but also at similar public facilities in neighboring communities
and even at pools operated by private entities (e.g., JCCA and YMCA charge even members various fees
in connection with some pool uses, albeit at reduced rates).
        We have an opportunity to implement vigorous aquatics programs for people of all ages and
swimming ability levels at the Nat. While it would be desirable in the future to have the type of multi-pool
facility recommended by USA Swimming, discussed below, we do not have to wait until that day to start
implementing many more swimming and water exercise programs than we have at the present. The
precise mix of District and community use can change over time. By keeping its own facility, the District
best maintains the option to increase athletic/educational pool use should it desire to do so in the future.
        The remainder of this section of this report surveys a number of sources of ideas regarding such
programming and their revenue potential, including comparisons to other pools in the area.
        B. USA Swimming Summary of Pool Programming Categories
        A document provided by USA Swimming provides the following comprehensive summary of
potential revenue-producing uses of any swimming facility (quoted verbatim).


             1. Learn to Swim
Learning to swim should be as much of a priority as learning the 3 R’s! Both children and
adults should have the opportunity to enjoy the water. If all communities take the
necessary steps to drown-proof their children through comprehensive Learn to Swim
programs, we can change the statistic that drowning is the 2nd major cause of
adolescent deaths in most states.

             2. Aquatic Rehab and the Continuum
Aquatic Therapy is the fastest growing and one of the most popular and beneficial
services offered. We have the opportunity to be on the “cutting edge” of this program’s
growth. Insurance will cover the cost of such services for a very short period of time –
usually 30 to 45 days. When patients are released they need a place to continue their
water routines. Warm water and professional guidance are keys to this service. Those
who cannot exercise on land now can be afforded the opportunity to change their life
style and, through aquatics, begin a program that will eventually lead to a healthy

             3. Community Health & Wellness
Whether water walking, vertical exercising or swimming laps, exercise in the water
promotes better health with reduced risk of injury. Many community members simply
cannot safely or comfortably exercise on land. In the water the body can weigh up to
90% less than on land so a healthy lifestyle based on proper exercise is possible. For
the healthier person, cross training on land and in the water is a successful exercise
option. Aquatics will be the leader in helping to solve health issues relating to obesity
and de-conditioning problems.”

             4. Youth Involvement on Swim Team
After learning to swim, many children try competitive swimming.        Swimming offers
physical development and benefits unmatched by any other activity. USA Swimming
clubs provide professional instruction and coaching to help children of all ages and
abilities enjoy this life-long activity.

             5. Youth Aquatic Recreation and Exercise
Competitive swimming may not be for everyone. However youth exercise with
professional program planning can help address fitness and obesity issues.

                  6. Special Needs Population Options
          Professional aquatic intervention can truly be a life saver for special needs children ages
          “birth to five.” These children must have exercise to survive and specially designed
          Aquatic Programs sometimes are the only choice.

                  7. Child Development through Family Activities
          The cliché, “The family that plays together stays together” still has meaning. The water
          offers a medium all ages can enjoy together.

                  8. Community Aquatic Safety Programs
          Various water safety and water adaptation classes must be taught as a community goal.
          Community partnerships with local groups, businesses and organizations can be forged
          to promote safety and health & wellness education. Possibilities include working with the
          local hospital for rehab options or partnering with the Boys & Girls Club or Scout Troops
          to teach aquatic skills.   In addition there are organizations that specialize in Diving,
          Syncro, Scuba, Water Polo, Masters Swimming, that offer valuable aquatic services and
          activities to the community.

                  9. Hosting Events
          There are many opportunities for the aquatic facility to host events that have a positive
          economic impact on the community.            Whether the event is a dual meet or a
          championship competition, an aquatic workshop or a regional or national symposium,
          valuable business is brought to the community. Motels, restaurants, theaters, malls, and
          other local businesses all benefit from the out-of-town visitors.

          C. What Other Pools in Our Area Do in Terms of Programming and Pool Rental
          No two pools are alike, in terms of physical condition, location and community served, or manner
of use.     However, consideration of facts regarding various pools in our area is essential to any
assessment of the potential for improved programming and revenue at the Nat. Important facts in the
following survey of neighboring pools are the school use, if applicable; the rental rates; the hours of public
use; and variety of programming.         These facts should provide some guidance as to what may be
successful here – or at least worth trying.

                 1. MICDS Pool
        MICDS’ swim facility is functionally similar to the Nat: it is a single competition pool, with the
temperature kept at approx. 80 degrees F; it has a shallow end and a deep end; and is similar in length to
the Nat. It is different only in that it has 8 lanes, rather than 6.
                 2. Programming at MICDS Pool
        Currently, MICDS runs aquatics programs during the school year from 6 AM to 10 PM, including:
                For MICDS students, during the school day and after school:
                     Aquatic exercise classes for non-swimmers
                     Water aerobics classes
                     Learn-to-swim classes
                     Scuba and lifeguarding classes
                     Practice sessions for school swimming and water polo teams

                For the community, practices for club sports (these are revenue-generating pool rentals):
                     CSP (Clayton Shaw Park) swim team. Note: despite the existence of the relatively
                      new Clayton Center pools, because our neighbors to the south have been so
                      successful in developing swimmers, they are unable to accommodate all their
                      swimmers at the Clayton Center and must rent time at other pools, a sign of the
                      potentially high demand for pool time in our part of the metro area.
                     “Daisy” water polo practice for teams ranging in age from fifth grade through high
                      school. By hosting the practices for the “Daisy” team, and thus encouraging the
                      learning of water polo skills at an early age, MICDS is able to grow teams which, at
                      the high school level, are always very competitive and successful.
                     Water polo Tournaments, including the Kuppa Tournament (the premier Missouri
                      water polo high school club tourney), and various other club and varsity tournaments
                      for water polo.

                For the community, various times during the day and on weekends, on a fee basis:

                     Open swim sessions
                     Learn-to-swim classes
                     Scuba classes
                     Lifeguard classes
                     Canoeing classes
                For the community, 6-10 PM Tues.-Thurs. from late August through the end of the school
                 year, on a fee basis:

                     Water exercise for groups of various ages up through 70 and above (24-30 people
                      per class; each class “session” meets 8 times);
                     Water aerobics for various age groups, primarily older adults.

  Source of all MICDS information: 7/8/09 phone conversation with Don Casey, Aquatics Director, MICDS; also
UCHS alum, Missouri State Water Polo champion, and a winning swimming and water polo coach.

                        3. Administration of MICDS Pool
             Of note here is that the MICDS pool is similar to the Nat, but it is in use most of every day. Mr.
Don Casey, MICDS Head Aquatics coach, clarified that high school sports teams have precedence over
any other activities, but he and the other coaches and activities directors work together and are able to
“make it work” by communicating with each other. Any schedule changes or addition of activities to the
schedule are run by the Athletic Director’s office and the school’s Business office.
                        4. Rental of MICDS Pool
             When consulted by a committee member in the summer of 2009, MICDS was renting the pool to
outside groups for $100 per hour for the entire pool, with no rental of individual lanes, and was
reevaluating its fees and policies (for comparative purposes, this is equivalent to $12.50 per lane per
hour. In the past, there had been some variations in fees depending on the group’s purpose, activity, and
             The MICDS representative said the school is scaling back on pool rental to outside groups, as it
has found that the more the pool was rented, the more demand there was for rental, which began to
conflict with serving student needs. This is an inherent conflict for any school-owned pool seeking to
offset costs with outside revenues.
                        5. Ladue High School Pool (Ramming Athletic Center)
                        6. Pool (Ramming Athletic Center)
             Ladue Horton Watkins High School has a relatively new pool. Like the Nat, it is a 25-yard, six-
lane pool. It is typically in use from the early morning hours until 9:00 or 10:00 PM.
                        7. Programming at Ladue Pool
             The following summary of programming at the Ladue pool is drawn from its website and
conversations with its staff.
             The Ladue pool provides “open swim” to school district residents during the following hours:

                    Monday           5:30-7:15 a.m. 6-9 p.m.
                    Wednesday        5:30-7:15 a.m. 6-9 p.m.
                    Friday           5:30-7:15 a.m.
                    Saturday         1-5 p.m.
                    Sunday           1-5 p.m.
             Residents pay $25 for individual and $65 for family registration annually. This fee is just sufficient
to cover lifeguard costs, without contributing significantly to pool operating costs.                    Sometimes these
open swim hours are used for multiple purposes, with a lane or two separately rented for scuba or
lifeguard classes, while the rest of the pool remains open to the public.

                  Corey Miller, Ladue PE instructor, who has overall responsibility for the pool and its programming.

             Note that open swim time at the Ladue pool totals 19.25 hours a week. In contrast, the Nat’s
public swim time offered through the City now totals just 8.5 hours a week. In particular, the Ladue pool’
s eight weekend hours compare very favorably to the Nat’s two.
             The Ladue pool offers a swim club that is a “fun, non-competitive organization open to swimmers
5-16 years old.” Unlike the Nat’s UCSC, this is not a USA-Swimming team, and it is run directly by the
school district. It meets three times weekly, using the pool for a total of 6.5 hours weekly. Apparently,
demand is high, as registration is closed.            Currently, about 160 youth swimmers participate in this
program. Ladue residents pay $150 for a November through March season; nonresidents pay $175.
This is the most profitable program at the Ladue pool, raising over $24,000 in revenue annually. It is
primarily marketed through school newsletters and flyers in the grade school “Friday folders.”
             Presently, the Ladue pool is not used for community swimming lessons or exercise classes. It is
a bit too deep, with the shallow end being 4.5 feet, and the temperature a bit too cool, being maintained
at 79-80°, for such purposes.          The Nat is better suited for such use.
                     8. Rental of Ladue Pool
             The Ladue School District has made high school pool use the first priority, and will not rent pool
time if there is a competing high school education or athletic use. As was true in University City when the
Nat was built, Ladue has a commitment to swimming education, with all high school PE courses including
a swimming unit. This requires use of the pool throughout the school day. As is currently true at the Nat,
during afternoon hours following school the Ladue pool is used by high school athletic teams.
             Ladue’s established rental rates to outside groups range from $10-18.75 per hour per lane, with
the lowest rate to not for-profit groups (with eight lanes, translates to whole-pool rate of $80-$150). Some
bulk use has been negotiated at significantly lower rates.
             Rental users include a Masters swim team, the Clayton Shaw Park USA Swimming swim team,
and the SLAP water polo program.
                     9. Administration of Ladue Pool
             Like MICDS, Ladue administers and manages its own aquatic programming, including the non-
competitive swim club. A full-time school district employee teaches PE swimming units, coaches boys
swimming, coaches water polo, and manages all other use of the pool. He stated clearly that for multi-
use programming to succeed at a pool, it was very important for there to be someone like him with
adequate time to devote to building and marketing the programming. He also stated the opinion that
there is “huge demand” for community pool use, and that the Nat is probably just not being “sold” very
well. He said that although the Nat is older and in some ways dated, it still could be very well used.


                   10. Parkway School District Pools
          The Parkway District maintains at least three high school pools. Its high school swim teams are
large and have had much success. It is also home to one of the largest USA Swimming clubs in the
region, Parkway Swim Club.
                   11. The View of the Nat from Parkway
          On Tuesday Jan 26, 2010 Kevin Mabie, Parkway Central girls swimming head coach Colts

arrived at the Nat for a meet and commented, unprompted, that the Nat is “such a great pool,” noting the

generous stands for spectators his pool lacked, and the superior ventilation that resulted in perceptibly
less chlorine in the air.

                   12. Rental of Parkway Pools
          When consulted by a committee member in the summer of 2009, Parkway was renting its pools
to outside groups for $66-$156 per hour for the whole pool, with the lowest rates to not for-profit and
affiliated groups. The Parkway District received approximately $112,518 in total pool rental revenue in
                   13. Rockwood Summit High School Pool
                   14. Pool Rental at Rockwood
          The Rockwood Summit pool is rented on weekdays for $80 per hour for for-profit groups and $35
per hour for nonprofit groups. It is rented on weekends for $104 for for-profit groups and $55 per hour for
non-profit groups. There is no per-lane rental. No information was obtained on other Rockwood pools,
but both Marquette High School and Lafayette High School maintain pools. The Rockwood Swim Club is
one of the largest and most competitive USA-Swimming teams in the region. As with Parkway, which
also has a large and competitive USA-Swimming team, Rockwood High School swim teams have enjoyed
considerable success. These go hand-in-hand because the best high school swimmers generally started
competitive swimming much younger, swimming on USA-Swimming teams. Additionally, since such
teams swim year-around, serious high school swimmers do likewise, allowing them to already be in top
condition when their high school swim season starts.
                   15. Lindbergh School District Pools
                   16. Pool Rental
          The Lindbergh district rents pool time for $42 per hour, making it available only to District
                   17. Municipal and Community Organization Facilities
          A number of municipal recreational facilities in nearby communities have indoor swimming pools.
The municipal pools surveyed, in Richmond Heights, Clayton, and Des Peres, and the pools at the

     Mary Lhotak, UCHS girls Assistant Coach and owner of Swim Studio, LLC.

Brentwood YMCA and JCCA are used for a wide variety of activities, including open swim, lap swim,
swim lessons, various aquatic exercise classes, and party rentals. They typically offer reduced rates for
residents or members, but are open to all. More specific data on offerings was gathered but is omitted. It
will be of some interest to anyone seeking to plan new programming at the Nat (e.g., pricing, hours,
specific classes offered).
           Even a cursory glance at the websites shows what rich aquatic programming and multiple uses of
the pools are involved. The burden of proof is on the person who would say that somehow University City
and the Nat are radically different in this regard for any reason other than lack of effort.
           A. The District’s Presentation of its Financial Concerns About the Nat
           Obviously, the District administration and Board has been aware for some time of the need for
major capital improvements to many District buildings. This is a perennial issue, and committee members
who have lived in the District for many years can well recall previous surveys of capital needs, with
involvement of citizen committees, that led to bond issues. Previously, the Nat was clearly included on a
list of facilities whose needs required investigation,             and accordingly some bond issue funds were
ultimately allocated to it.

           This time, citizen participation took the form of “Community Engagement Meetings,” which were
quite well attended and which included, among other subjects, the District’s facilities needs. Out of this
process came Proposition U. This time, it does not appear that the Nat was given its due in this process.
Certainly, it was not included in the citizen “field trips” to view conditions requiring capital investment.

           Almost immediately upon the heels of the passage of Proposition U. came the rumor, which
proved to be true, that the Board was considering closing the Nat. The public reaction, which would have
been strongly negative regardless, was tinged with outrage at the timing, as the funds most needed to
continue operating the Nat could easily have been rolled into Prop U. Had these funds been included in
the vote been, they would have been only a small part of the overall investment of $53,600,000 approved
by the voters – a part reflecting a fair distribution among the various District buildings. Inclusion of these
capital expenditures could only have drawn further support from community members who may use the
Nat, but have no children enrolled in District schools.
           This is all in the past, but it provides important background for the May meeting at which a case
against continued operation of the Nat was based on what the committee has determined to be an
exaggerated analysis of the depth of the financial challenge involved. This analysis focused on two

           1.       The gap between annual operating costs that appear high compared to minimal revenue
                    (although the committee suspects the Nat is the only District facility, and aquatics the

     Recollection of George Lenard, from service on facilities subcommittee for a previous bond issue.

                only District academic or athletic program, that are subjected to such a “profit center”
                analysis); and

        2.      Estimates of needed capital investment (although the District can only blame itself for not
                obtaining the needed funding as part of Prop U).

        Additionally, committee members are aware of comments to the effect that such expenditures on
the Nat could not be justified because only a few District students would benefit. As discussed above,
significant numbers of students do benefit. More importantly, if the District were to adopt the Committee’s
recommendation below to gradually return to including swimming lessons in the PE curriculum -- as it did
when the Nat was built and for many years thereafter -- ultimately all District students would benefit.

        Regarding the revenue gap, as will be discussed below, the committee believes that: (1) the
District should view this gap as smaller than was originally presented; (2) progress is being made towards
closing it; and (3) further progress in closing it is expected and should be the focus of significant efforts,
provided they do not interfere with existing District and community use.

        Regarding the needed capital investment, for reasons discussed below, the figures presented at
the May meeting are no longer appropriate.

        B. A Few Words of Caution About Applying a “Business Model” or Treating The Nat As A
        “Profit Center”
        Implicit in the financial presentation to the public in May 2009 was the assumption that the Nat’s
value should be assessed by measuring the extent to which revenues covered operating expenses. The
committee feels strongly about two points: that an excessive focus on treating the Nat as a business or
profit center is not appropriate, and that increasing revenues is both desirable and possible. These points
may seem contradictory. However they can be reconciled through an approach that recognizes certain
intrinsic values to the community that go far beyond the capacity for revenue generation, yet
acknowledges the considerable potential of aquatic facilities to generate revenues that help cover their
substantial operating expenses.

        Treating the Nat as a business or profit center is not consistent with the civic spirit with which our
predecessors built it.    In recent years, our society has become much more focused on applying a
business model to nearly everything, with benefit defined only in terms of financial profit, and value in
terms of dollars alone.

        This view stands in contrast to the community model that motivated our predecessors in the late
19th century through much of the 20th century. They created most of the parks, libraries, and community
facilities we still enjoy today with the idea that creating places for the physical and mental enrichment of
community strengthened the whole community and its citizens, intangible benefits justifying making
substantial investments without the expectation of direct financial return. Indeed, the very existence of
public schools operates under this concept.

        However, in the last few decades we have begun to lose our sense of the importance of collective
community investment. This need not be so. The committee feels strongly that while investment in
community facilities must always be prudent, the value of such facilities extends well beyond the business
aspect of their ability to generate revenue. Therefore, while the Nat should certainly generate more
revenue than it has in the recent past to offset the operating costs -- and the committee is confident that it
can and will do so -- its intangible value as a community asset, which is what was clearly in the mind of
our predecessors when they built it, must not be overlooked or minimized.

        The second point is that the committee does recognize the practical need for increased revenue,
and believes there is strong potential for achieving this through improved aquatic programming and better
marketing of existing programming.

        C. Operating Budget Figures Presented in May, Adjustments to Them, and Projection for
        The committee has made downward adjustment of certain expense figures presented by Mr.
Scheidt at the May 2009 meeting in order to reflect a few circumstances, that while perhaps seeming to
be a “drop in the bucket,” are important to a more accurate appraisal of the Nat’s financial impact on the
District’s operating budget (assuming appropriateness of a “profit center” approach not applied to other
District facilities and programs). It has updated these adjusted figures with end of year 2008-2009 actual
amounts, added new projected revenues, and put all operating budget figures in context by accounting for
revenue foregone due to District and City use. These adjustments and calculations are shown in a table
at the end of this section.
                 1. Adjustment to Custodial Services Expense
        Upon inquiry as to whether the Nat really required, or received, full-time custodial services, facts
were learned meriting adjustment of the compensation figure above. The custodian in fact performs work
at other UCHS athletic facilities, such that 32 hours is a more appropriate amounts to attribute to the Nat.
Accordingly only 80% of the $31,173 compensation, or $24,938, should be included in the Nat operating
expenses. Additionally, some unknown portion of his time working in the Nat is spent doing laundry for
the entire school district. Although considerably more time may be involved, conservatively estimating
this work at two hours a week brings the hours to 30 and adjustment factor to 75%, further reducing the
compensation attributable to the Nat to $23,380.
        The committee believes that further savings on custodial expenses may be possible. While we
feel it is very important that the pool in building the maintained in a safe, clean, and attractive condition,
we question whether that truly requires 30 hours a week. As with any organization facing belt-tightening,
we would expect the District to consider whether there are ways to do more with less in the way of labor
hours. This could start with simple hour-by-hour recordkeeping of tasks actually performed (which would
also allow more accurate allocation of time to laundry work).

                 2. Adjustment to Utilities Expenses
        Obviously, operation of the washer and dryer accounts for some unknown portion of the Nats’
natural gas, water, and sewer bills. These appliances can be quite costly to operate, depending on extent
of use and efficiency of consumption of these utilities. Conservatively estimating this laundry operation as
consuming 5% of the total utilities cost of $60,000 results in allocation of $3,000 to the laundry operatio,
justifying a downward adjustment of utilities expenses in this amount.
        Additionally, although not an adjustment made by the committee, it is important that the Board
take note of significant utilities savings resulting from installation of the more efficient boilers previously
used at Barbara Jordan, along with new electronic controls.
        The committee recommends further study of possible utilities savings, such as through more
aggressive thermostat setbacks and reduced lighting during unused hours. Committee members have
observed that often “the lights are on with nobody home.” This may be justifiable for security reasons, but
should be evaluated.
                 3. Offsetting Value Received From District Use and Value Provided to City
        Putting the Nat’s expenses in proper perspective also requires accounting for the District’s use. It
is clear from the above history of the Nat that there has never been an expectation that cash revenues
would cover the operating expenses. Rather, it was understood that taxpayers were funding operating
expenses in order to provide benefits to District students and the community at large. Today, although
the District has chosen to no longer use the Nat for mandatory PE instructional purposes, the high school
instructional and athletic programs are using substantial amounts of “prime time” that could otherwise
generate revenue from community or third-party use. After-school hours from 3:00 to 5:30 PM for almost
nine months are dedicated to varsity athletics (boys and girls swim teams and water polo). Other time is
reserved for UCHS instructional use. Additionally, consistent with the original agreement with the City,
more “prime time” hours are used by the City, without payment of any rental fees.
        Applying a business or profit-center model, these uses represent a significant opportunity cost.
That is, the District has chosen to forgo potential revenue from the pool time involved. The above survey
of how other pools are used establishes that this revenue potential is very real, particularly as to the after-
school and evening hours. Ultimately, as discussed below, it might be possible to expand programming
and adjust pricing to the point that revenue from unused pool time fully covers the operating costs.
However, the committee feels strongly that a realistic current view of the operating budget must account
for this opportunity cost, as it reflects long-standing policies of supporting UCHS aquatic sports and
providing for community use of the pool, policies reflecting values that are as legitimate and important
today as they ever were.
        These opportunity costs could be accounted for several ways. First, Mr. Scheidt has calculated
an actual hourly cost of operating the Nat, which is $4.70 per hour per lane. Using this figure, the value of
the District’s use is approximately $17,811 per year, according to Mr. Scheidt.

          Second, the District’s established rental rate for third party use is $7.33 per hour per lane, or
$44.00 per hour for the entire pool. Using this figure, the value of the District’s use is approximately
$27,000 per year, according to Mr. Scheidt.
          A third way to account for the value of pool time used by the District and City is market value. As
the above data demonstrate, there is a wide variation in rates paid for pool rental at other locations, with
many rates significantly higher than the District’s current rental rates. While the current rate may be an
appropriate assessment of the Nat’s unique market value given factors such as pool location, condition,
and size, the likely higher market price of pool rental at other locations is a very important consideration in
evaluating the potential financial benefit of closing the Nat. If this were to occur, and if the District were to
then seek to maintain the high school aquatic programs by renting pool time elsewhere, the likelihood is
that a market price higher than the current Nat rental price would have to be paid, along with
transportation costs (and it would be quite difficult to even reserve appropriate times at other pools, at any
          It seems clear to the committee that, conceptualized as opportunity cost, the second method,
applying the rate the district charges to other users, is most appropriate for placing the operating budget
in perspective.    So valued, the amount attributable to District and City use directly reflects revenue
deliberately forgone in pursuit of the District and community benefits that historically have always been
the justification for Nat expenditures. After deducting these amounts, the remainder reflects the true
unjustified “operating loss” that it is reasonable to seek to cover with new revenue. After obtaining such
revenue, the District would, in a very meaningful sense, be at a break-even position, paying only for
actual use to which it is committed.
          Note in the table below that the current projected unjustified “operating loss” for this school year,
calculated in this manner, is $48,245, a dramatic contrast to the “operating loss” of $114,513
communicated to the public in the May meeting.
                  4. Projected 2009-2010 Revenue
          Revenue reported for the 2009-2010 year to date is $4,587. UCSC anticipates contributing a
total of $10,000 to the Nat for use of the facility for the year, including funds to be raised in a Swim-A-
Thon in February expected to raise at least $1,000. $2,000 of this has been paid, so an additional $8,000
from UCSC should be included, bringing total projected revenue to $12,587. Lane rental by the Swim
Studio and SLAP are further revenue sources, likely to yield at least an additional $1,500, bringing the
total projected revenue to $14,087.
          The following table compares the 2008-2009 operating budget as presented at the may 2009
public meeting, the 2008-2009 operating budget with staff compensation and utilities adjusted by the
committee as described above, and the projected 2009-2010 operating budget received from Mr. Scheidt,
with parallel adjustments. It demonstrates what the committee feels is both a more realistic view of the
impact of the Nat on the District’s operating budget --one that is more favorable -- and a positive trend
that is due to better utilities use and collection of more revenue. The committee anticipates that if the

Board accepts the recommendation to continue Nat operations while aggressively pursuing additional
revenue-producing usage, this positive trend will continue to improve the Nat’s “bottom line.”

                   5. Nat Operating Budget Analysis (Table)

                                   NAT OPERATING BUDGET ANALYSIS

                                           2008-2009,         as         2008-2009, May         2009-2010
                                           Presented at May 2009         Figures,       as      Projection,       as
                                           Public Meeting                Adjusted      by       Adjusted          by
                                                                         Committee and          Committee
                                                                         to Reflect Actual
           Water and Sewer:                $11,000                       $11,000                $10,000
           Electric:                       $15,000                       $15,000                $14,000
           Natural Gas:                    $34,000                       $34,000                $22,000
        Total Utilities                    $60,000                       $55,000                $46,000
        Building       Repair       and    $25,000                       $34,164                $34,164
        Staff         compensation,        $31,173                       $23,380                $23,380
        including benefits, for one
        custodian at $10.38 per
        hour, eight hours per day,
        260 days per year:
        Total     estimated     Nat        $116,173                      $112,544               $103,544
        operating expense
        Revenue                            $1,660                        $1,660                 $14,087

        Expenses,         Offset     by    $114,513                      $110,884               $89,457

        Value Received from District       $27,000                       $27,000                $27,000
        Value Provided to City             $14,212                       $14,212                $14,212
        Expenses,      Offset   by         $73,301                       $69,672                $48,245
        Revenue, Value Received
        from District Use, & Value
        Provided to City

    The $12,000 reduction compared to 2008-2009 reflects increased efficiency of the newly installed boilers from
Barbara Jordan.
    $5,000 less than actual total to reflect $3,000 adjustment for estimated laundry utilities cost, and fact that in
actuality electric, water, and sewer came in a total of about $2,000 less than the above figures
   The May projection apparently underestimated this figure, which has now been revised by Mr. Scheidt to $34,164.
   8.5 hours per week at $44.00 per hour for 38 weeks.

        D. Potential to Dramatically Improve Nat Operating Budget “Bottom Line”
        Subject to the committee’s reservations about suddenly taking a complete “business model” or
“profit center” approach to operating a facility that was designed and used for decades on a community-
benefit model without regard to “bottom line,” it is important to explore the very substantial potential for
increased revenues from the Nat.

        The committee calculated last summer that the District used the Nat for 27.5 hours weekly, while
the City and UCSC used another 15.5 hours, for a total usage of 43 hours weekly. These figures do not
include St. Michael’s School, SLAP, and St. Louis Swim Studio, which at the time were uncertain.

        If the Nat’s day were started at 5:30 AM (it is known that some people who now start at 6:00
would prefer earlier) and ended at 10:00 PM, seven days a week, it would be open 115.5 hours weekly.

        The difference between this total and the total used by the District, the City and UCSC is 72.5
hours. Some of this time is now used by St. Michael’s School, SLAP, and St. Louis Swim Studio, but
much is still open, including morning hours, which neighboring pools use quite intensely for water
exercise classes, and prime weekend hours (Saturday 10:00-12:00 AM; Saturday after 2:00 PM; all day

        If all 72.5 hours were rented at the District’s current $44.00 per hour, for a season of 38 weeks,
additional revenue would be $121,220.

        Is this possible or likely? Probably not, and certainly not without aggressive programming and
marketing that requires a dedicated professional, not a citizen’s committee, a busy operations director, or
a busy athletic director. Nevertheless, even capturing half this amount would cover the District’s costs,
excluding those attributable to District and City use of the Nat. With growth in revenues from UCSC,
Swim Studio, and SLAP this year, we are headed in this direction already.

        E. Capital Expenditures Required To Continue Nat Operations
                 1. The List Presented At The May 2009 Meeting
        Last spring, Mr. Scheidt compiled a listing of Proposed Nat Capital Improvements. This list, along
with the operating budget figures discussed above, was presented at the meeting of concerned University
City citizens on May 11, 2009, as justification for possible closure of the Nat. Expenditures on this list
totaled $1,570,050, including $3,760 to complete legally-mandated drain safety improvements, which this
had already been allocated.

        These proposed capital expenditures were intended to provide long-term solutions to a variety of
problems, including:

  While $3,760 had been estimated as the cost to bring the swimming pool’s drain into compliance with the Virginia
Graeme Baker Pool Safety Act (required by December 2009) that expense actually was approximately only $2,000.

        1.       $723,657 to replace a heating and ventilation system (purchased and installed with funds
                 from the last bond issue about ten years ago) that provides inadequate ventilation and
                 dehumidification, thus causing deterioration of all interior materials.
        2.       $404,071 for removal of ceiling, rustproofing, and re-lamping, required due to extensive
                 rusting of the structural supports for the roof.
        3.       $132,000 for replacement of windows that do not seal properly (also purchased with
                 funds from the last bond issue).
        4.       $58,056 for bleacher replacement.
        5.       $140,330 for interior door and handrail replacement.
        6.       $11,213 for concrete wall repair
        7.       $12,938 for glazed block repair
        8.       $33,135 for ADA access (pool lift and door access)
        9.       $24,881 for locker room repairs.
        10.      $26,009 for pool leaks.

                 2. Two Very Different Perspectives on Proposed Capital Improvements
        The fact that the original capital improvement list totaled about $1.5 million obviously requires

very careful consideration before moving forward with any of the proposed capital expenditures.

        The committee suggests these expenditures may be -- and should be -- viewed from two very

different perspectives. The first is that if the desire is to merely maintain the Nat to extend its useful

lifetime by a decade or more, this price tag does not seem too much to pay. Further, some of these

proposed expenditures on the capital budget would have a beneficial effect on the operating budget.

Specifically, window replacement and leak repairs could effect further reductions in utility bills.

        The other perspective is that if the desire is to extend the Nat’s useful lifetime only long enough to

plan and fund its replacement, very careful prioritization of these expenditures is required to avoid gross

waste of taxpayer funds on a building slated for demolition.

        The committee feels it would ultimately be more desirable to either replace the Nat entirely or

extensively renovate and modify it to include one or more additions that would add greatly to its utility.

The committee is not in a position to recommend which of these two options (extensive renovation or

replacement) is preferable without further information, and recommends consultation with USA Swimming

facilities experts and/or other suitable professionals to assess these options. The $1.5 million for lifetime-

extending improvements of the existing pool and building would provide context for estimates for these

other two options.

        Either way, developments and information obtained since the May 2009 meeting indicate that

$1.5 million greatly overstates the actual amount of capital expenditures absolutely required to continue

operating the Nat in the near-term. Therefore, the existence of this estimate should not serve as a barrier

to continuing such operation pending aggressive development of aquatic programs and more detailed

consideration and planning of future options.

                 3. Impact of Boiler Replacement
        The committee was excited to learn, late in the summer of 2009, that Mr. Scheidt had very

resourcefully discovered and taken advantage of the opportunity to salvage the boilers from the

demolition of the Barbara Jordan school and install them in the Nat.

        This frugal decision had two positive impacts: (1) as noted above, it effected a substantial

improvement in the Nat’s heating efficiency, reducing utilities costs by nearly 35%; and (2) it reduced the

cost of the proposed heating and ventilation improvements, the single most expensive item on the original

list, from $723,657 to $250,000, with an additional $20,000 to $30,000 for a new control system. This

improved HVAC estimate is also due to additional work by Mr. Scheidt, who characterizes the remaining

ventilation and dehumidification improvements as the top priority out of all those listed in May.

        It could be that even the HVAC work could be deferred for a few years. On the other hand, if it

must be funded to continue short-term operation of the Nat, the committee recommends taking into

account the possibility that this equipment may have substantial residual value if the Nat is later

substantially modified or replaced (i.e. that it may have significant resale value as used equipment or that

it may be repurposed as part of the HVAC design of the substantially modified or new facility.

                 4. Other Facts Improving Short-Term Outlook For Required Capital Spending
        The capital improvement picture has also improved in several other respects compared to the list

presented in May.

        First, professional inspection has confirmed that the expensive roof structure repairs ($404,071)

are not as urgent as previously feared. They are now near the bottom of capital expenditure priorities.

        Second, Mr. Scheidt has concluded that extensive window replacement may not be necessary,

particularly in view of the relative recency of the District’s investment in these windows. Instead, less

expensive repair and/or replacement of window seals may suffice.

        Third, at the committee’s request, Mr. Scheidt has prepared a revised list prioritizing the repairs in

the following:

        1.       $250,000 for Replacement of the remaining components of the HVAC/Dehumidification
                 system plus $20,000-$30,000 for related control system
        2.       $26,009 for Plumbing replacement/upgrades (on May list as “‘Pool Leaks”)

        3.       Window seals repair/replacement (no cost estimate)
        4.       Lighting replacement (no cost estimate; not on May list)
        5.       $58,056 for Bleacher replacement
        6.       $33,135 for ADA access issues
        7.       $24,881 for locker room renovations
        8.       $140,330 for door and handrail replacement
        9.       $404,071 for removal of ceiling and rust proofing of roof support structure
        10.      $11,213 for wall repairs
        11.      $12,938 for glazed block repairs
        At the committee’s request, this list has been arranged numerically according to priority.
However, note that items 2, 6, 7, and 8 would likely need to be done together as ADA compliance items.
This prioritized list improves the short-term outlook for capital spending by, at a minimum, reducing the
cost of item 1 by $473,657 and allowing deferral of items 9-11, totaling $428,222. This yields a total
reduction of the original $1,566,290 by $901,879. The remainder, representing the higher priority items,
is $664,411.
        Further, item number 3, listed as window replacement on May 11, may cost significantly less than
the estimated $132,000.00 if many of these 10-year old windows may be sealed/repaired rather than
totally replaced. If window replacement is thus scaled back from the total replacement estimate to half of
the original $132,000.00, another $66,000 reduction is achieved, for a new total of $598,411. if many are
rather than just replaced. While the committee hesitates to say this is “only” $598,411, it does represent
a 62% reduction from the figures presented in May.
                 5. Further Downward Revision of Needed Short-Term Capital Spending
        The possible need to close the Nat because it was not ADA compliant, and compliance costs
were prohibitive, was not directly expressed at the May 2009 meeting as a reason for considering closing
the facility. However, ADA -compliance-related items (Nos. 2, 6, 7, and 8) were included in the capital
improvement list. Capital spending is substantially increased by including these items, rather than only
items truly necessary to maintain the Nat in a condition allowing it to continue to serve the community
reliably until another facility can be built. This increase, in turn, contributes to a perception that the cost of
short-term continued Nat operation is unacceptable. It may very well be true that the ADA compliance
items, (2, 6, 7, and 8), costing a total of $224,355, may not be legally necessary at this time.          Since all
the interior doors in the Nat were replaced approximately 5 years ago, it is likely that door replacement
(bundled with handrail replacement to total $140.330.00) is not necessary unless ADA compliance is
absolutely mandatory to keep the Nat open. Similarly, the cost of new bleachers, at $58,056.00, is not a
necessary part of what is truly necessary.
        Thus, if we are faced with a choice of closing the Nat or expending only those funds for capital
improvements that are truly necessary to keep it fully functioning and reliably operating, we would further
subtract the costs of items 5, 6, 7, 8, which total $256,402, yielding a new revised total of $342,009. Such

   To the extent plumbing expenditures are to repair and prevent leaks, etc., rather than for ADA compliance, they
are in a different category, so item 2 remains a priority item.

a number, stripping the original wish list to a “bare bones” survival list, is eminently reasonable when held
up against the millions being spent under Prop U., which should have allocated funds to the Nat, as one
of the District buildings most in need.
        Again, it should be clarified that our Operations Director, in good faith, drew up a list of repairs
needed for three goals: (1) keeping the Nat in “adequate” condition necessary to keep it open and
functioning reliably; (2) making it more accessible; and (3) transforming it into a more pleasant and
attractive facility. If we cannot now afford to pay for all of the desired repairs to immediately meet goals
(2) and (3), the committee feels very strongly that it is far more desirable to make the “bare bones” repairs
to keep the Nat open and functioning reliably, and then to later find funding for the items addressing goals
(2) and (3), after the Nat no longer needs to be on “life support,” if indeed it will not be more substantially
modified and renovated or outright replaced. Mr Scheidt appears to agree, stating: “Our current focus is
keep the facility functional at this time.” The committee asks no more in the short-term.
        Closing the Nat: Neither Free nor Cheap
        As mentioned earlier in this report, the School Board and District Administration is considering
closure of the Nat in order to cut costs incurred from expensive anticipated repairs as well as yearly
operating expenses which are not seen to be justified. While on the surface it may look tempting to “close
the Nat and walk away” and anticipate saving between approximately $400,000.00 to over $1,000,000.00
in repairs as well as over $100,00.00 per year in operating expenses, closing the Nat will be neither free
nor cheap. As the experience of Dr. Flint Fowler, Executive Director of Herbert Hoover Boys and Girls
Club in the city of St. Louis has noted, closing an indoor swimming facility costs money. The pool at
Herbert Hoover, only ten years newer than our Nat, was in disrepair a few years ago. When analyzing
their costs involved in closing that facility as opposed to keeping it open, the Club’ board of directors saw
that it would be nearly as expensive to close the pool as to repair it and keep it open. With the statistics
on deaths by drowning in the African Americancommunity in mind, the decision was made by the
nonprofit Herbert Hoover Club to not only repair and keep the pool open, but to vigorously expand their
learn to swim programs. Again, a hidden cost in closing a pool such as that at Herbert Hoover or our Nat
is the greater risk of drowning we will be placing our students at, for their whole lives, if they do not learn
to swim. Another hidden cost of closing such a facility is that it prevents students who would have
otherwise learned to swim from developing a skill that could have prevented their developing obesity,
diabeters, cardiac disease, etc.

        Costs to Provide Alternative Practice Sites for U City Aquatics Teams
        Specifically in the case of our Nat, there will be NEW costs which our school district will incur if
the Nat is closed. Students in our aquatics sports (girls’ swimming; boys’ swimming’ boys’ water polo) will
need to be bussed—at school district expense—to another pool to practice. This will occur for these 3

sports, for approximately 9-10 weeks per sport, 5 days per week. This will require approximately 3 hours
of bus and driver time per day. That is approximately 405 bus hours (3 teams x9 weeks x 3 hours per
day) at approximately $50/hour totaling $20,250.00 just for bussing the athletes. Additionally, it would
cost approximately $100 per practice to rent use of another facility. This would result in a cost of
approximately (3 teams x 9 hours x 5 days per week =135 practices x $100.00) $13,500.00
So far, if the Nat is closed, it would cost approximately $37,350 for our aquatics athletes to practice at a
facilty other than our own. There is also another hidden cost in this arrangement: practice facilities where
our student athletes could practice are generally not available until approximately 7:30 PM. This is based
on a survey of several area aquatics coaches as well as phone conversations with aquatics directors at
pools near enough to University City to be realistic alternative practice sites. So, if our student athletes
begin practice at 7:30 PM and end practice at 10 PM, they would get back to UCHS at approximately
10:45 or 11 PM 4 or 5 nights per week. Would this be an optimal arrangement for a student athlete who
needs sleep to learn and to perform in the pool—and just to stay healthy?
        Costs of Closing the Physical Facility of the Nat
        Closing our Nat will also be costly. In order to keep the building from rotting and falling apart and
onto the other UCHS structures to which it is attached, the HVAC would still need to be replaced
($270,000.00). The District would still need to pay for insurance, as the vacant building would pose a
liability if anyone broke in and hurt her/himself; pest control operations would be needed to keep out
rodents and other animals; security patrols would likely need to be increased, as a vacant building would
be a tempting target for vandals. Because the Nat houses a swimming pool, certain regulations for the
manner in which the pool itself and the building are “put into mothballs” would have to be followed and
this would raise costs.
Because this committee was not funded, we were not able to do a formal “feasibility study” as to exact
costs for closing the Nat. If, after all of the arguments we have made to demonstrate the folly in closing
the Nat this school board wishes to spend many thousands of dollars on such a feasibility study, then
more exact figures about pool closing costs would be possible.
        4.   Note: closing the Nat will not be “free;”       costs will continue in the way of: insurance;
maintaining integrity of the building as it attached to the main high school structure; monitoring the facility;
keeping out pests and vandals; a reputable source (Flint Fowler, Executive Director of Herbert Hoover
Boys and Girls’club in St. Louis when faced with a ppol of similar age and deterioration compared costs to
close versus to repair and keep their pool open; his financial ayalysts concluded that closing the pool
would cost nearly as much as keeping it open. So if we close the nat, we will still be paying—for

         Finally, closing the Nat would eliminate viable programs and management structures that have
been developed through years of hard work by dedicated volunteers and coaches. Rebuilding these
programs, even after a temporary closing, would be costly and difficult.

How did a nonprofit community center in the City of St. Louis save their pool and aquatics

        A little over two years ago, the Herbert Hoover Girls and Boys Club, located at in St. Louis at
2901 North Grand Avenue, was faced with a similar dilemma: should they close their aging aquatics
facility and discontinue their fledgling swimming programs, or should they spend money to fix the facility
and put time and energy into re-invigorating their swimming lessons and other aquatics activities? Just
as our school district is faced with budget issues, Herbert Hoover, a nonprofit, always has to watch its
expenditures carefully.
                 Our school district’s Operations Manager and financial officer provided a list of items
which would need to be repaired in order to bring the U City High Nat up to good operating condition.
Herbert Hoover also generated a list of items which they had to repair, and Dr. Flint Fowler, the Club’s
Executive Director, provided that list to our committee. Prior to deciding whether to go ahead with these
repairs, totaling $661,111, Dr. Fowler also got estimates on how much it would cost to close their pool,
which is only 10 years newer than our U City Nat. Taking into account that in closing Herbert Hoover’s
pool them would have had to:
        a)Fill in the pool (no small expense); put in a new floor; replace the roof and HVAC system (to
prevent rotting of the structures) and replace external lighting; and do some electrical work.
        (Again, this is all work that would have had to be done EVEN IF THE POOL WAS GOING TO BE
        b)Incur additional expenses in “taking care of” a closed pool which would include continuing to
insure the facility for liability; continuing to patrol the facility, which would become a target for break-ins
and vandalism; and preventing infestation of the premises by rodents and other pests.
        Looking at all of their number, the Herbert Hoover Boys and Girls club leadership felt that it would
be too costly to close their pool—nearly as costly as to keep it open and repair it. Dr. Fowler did relate
that the Club would have saved some money on /lower-cost/ insurance, maintenance, and heating and
sewer bills if the facility was shuttered, but those expenses would continue and the Club would have no
aquatics facility or programs.
        With regards to our unique situation with the U City High Nat:, inasmuch as the Nat is attached to
the rest of the UCHS building, collapse of the building, if shuttered, could be devastating to the structural
integrity of the main UCHS structure. Because the pool at Herbert Hoover was not being used by many
kids (enrollment in swimming lessons and use of the pool for recreation swim activities was disturbingly

low) initially it had been felt by personnel at Herbert Hoover that the pool and learning to swim was not
important to the clients of their club. However, in light of the fact that over 3 times as many African
American die deaths by drowning due to not having been taught to swim, Dr. Fowler and the Herbert
Hoover Board of Directors felt that it was vitally important to not only keep open and repair their aging
pool, but also to breathe new life into their learn-to-swim programs. So, the leadership of Herbert Hoover
also felt that a far higher true cost incurred in closing the pool and ending the learn to swim programs
would be the grave risk they would be placing their members at who would continue to be non-swimmers
and perhaps would remain at risk of death by drowning throughout their entire lives.                      Other
considerations—that the exercise benefits from water activities could be enjoyed throughout one’s entire
lifespan, and could effectively combat the ever-increasing numbers of early-developing diabetes, cardiac,
and other problems related to a sedentary lifestyle—were also factors considered when weighing the
“cost: benefit ratio” of whether to close the pool or keep it open.
                    There are so many parallels we can draw between the situation at Herbert Hoover and
our own situation here at the Nat: an aging pool; a large population of school age children who never
have been taught to swim; aquatics teams struggling to recruit athletes because of the small numbers of
swimmers in the student body; under enrollment of the client population in swimming lessons either
during or after school; limited funds; an administration which needs to see justification for how its dollars
are spent; and, most of all, unrealized potential in this facility due to: lack of use by our school district and
a lack of programs which the larger community would use (e.g., swimming lessons; more time for
recreational swim etc.) if such programs were developed, and adequately marketed by the city and school
                    Nearly 30 years ago, in urban Philadelphia, a similarly aging pool was the home to a
fledgling swim team of African American swimming novices.                Those students, whose story was
dramatized in the movie “Pride”, went on to win swim meets, and more importantly, to develop the pride of
real accomplishments, as well as taking away with them the skill of swimming which would enhance their
health throughout their lives. That “story” is detailed later in this report (See “The Philadelphia Story.”)

                                     XI. BENEFITS OF KEEPING IT OPEN
            Reasons to keep the Nat open NOW
            The reasons for the building of our Nat remain unchanged from the reasons that we still need a
Nat today.
            Public safety, leaning to swim as life-saving moral imperative. Facts about African American kids
and drowning and upward mobility. We don’t want another child from U City to drown because they didn’t
learn to swim.
            Public health exercise opportunities
            Maintain viable programs
            Expand to new programs

            To the extent decisions may be made to use the Nat for instructional purposes -- now or in the
future -- there is additional value to the District in maintaining the Nat.           This value also should be
considered as justifying Nat expenditures as something far better than mere “losses” or money down the

            The nat is still just as, if not more important to our school district and to our entire community as it
was when school children learned to swim there. Now that over 80% of the students at UCHS are African
American, a group which drowns at a rate over three times that of Caucasians, it is not just desirable but
it is morally imperative that we teach all children in our school district how to swim—a lifesaving skill as
well as a sport which one can engage in for life. Re-introducing swimming lessons in our school district
will not save the nat. Teaching our students to be water-safe will not raise any money for our school
district. It will “only” meet a need: to address the growing risk most of our students face of drowning.
Closing the nat will not make this risk go away—NO—it will only put our students at increasing risk as
they graduate, unable to swim, and access swimming facilities throughout their lives. Re-introducing
swimming lessons will also buttress the aquatics sports teams which have welcomed non-swimmers and
transformed students who could not swim at all into competitive aquatics athletes. Continuing to provide
a practice facility for swimming and water polo for our men’s and women’s teams will further encourage
these sports, which have a far lower rate of head injuries than most other high school sports. Closing the
Nat would conservatively cost UCHS between $30-40,000 per year to rent an alternative practice facility
and to pay for bus transportation to that facility. Shipping our aquatics athletes off to a distant facility,
which would most likely not be available for practice until 7:30PM or later, would also rob those students
of sleep: they would get back to school after 11PM 4-5 nights per week, and—does anyone have a
calculator—allow these athletes HOW much sleep per night?
            Additionally, even in the face of a Nat that is, in the view of some, “crumbling”, and in the
absence of vigorous programming or marketing of the nat, there is a vigourous, milti-generational
community of swimmers from all University City neighborhoods who use the nat daily for swimming.
Imagine the benefit to University City, our community, if vigorous and imaginative programming and
marketing enabled more citizens to use our Nat fir a wide variety of activities. This could help both the
“bottome line” of our school district, and also the “waistlines”, blood pressures, and lifelines of our
                                      XII. A TALE OF TWO CITIES’ POOLS
            Although many more examples of school districts struggling with old pools can surely be found

from across the country, the committee feels that the following two examples provide some valuable

lessons, and may also provide resources for further information on various strategies utilized to fund and

manage aquatics facilities and programming.

        A. Lake Washington School District, Near Seattle
        The story of the Lake Washington School District in the state of Washington, may provide some
hope for a positive resolution here. The following narrative is drawn from three items appearing in the
Washington, online publication
        A March 12, 2009, letter to the editor discussed the possible closing of the Juanita High School
Pool, described as “one of the few remaining [indoor] pools in the area.” The letter stated:

        I’m writing to add my voice to what I’m sure is becoming a wave of negative community
        response to the news that the Lake Washington School District is considering – if not
        already planning – the closure of the swimming pool at Juanita High School. I believe
        such an ill-considered action would be wrong on multiple levels, and I’m disturbed that
        the School District seems to be moving forward with this decision with (seemingly) little
        effort to notify the community about its plans, or to explore the full range of options open
        to it.

        I’m well aware that the School District faces severe budget constraints, and that it must
        make a number of tough decisions about how to allocate its limited funds. In such a tight
        fiscal environment, it’s easy to see how a pool facility that operates at an annual loss
        might seem an obvious choice for the cutting block. In this regard, … [the] Deputy
        Superintendent of the Lake Washington School district … cites annual operating
        expenses that run $150,000 in the red, and also claims the pool requires more than $1.5
        million in capital investments and improvements to stay open.

        Even if [this] accounting picture … is accurate, I think the School District is being
        incredibly short sighted in its apparent willingness to close the pool. … [T]he School
        District is working with outside groups that might be interested in taking over the pool
        operations. While it’s encouraging that the School District is making some efforts on this
        front, it’s also likely to prove quite difficult to find an organization that is able and willing to
        take responsibility for the pool given the current economic climate and the realities of
        swimming pool economics. It seems the School District’s position may be that there are
        just two scenarios in play: find a new organization to run the pool, or shut it down.

        I can’t claim expertise in the history of swimming pool funding for the (very few!) school
        pools in the area, but I’ve been told that there was formerly a consensus understanding
        that pools, which are generally money losers, deserved taxpayer support due to the many
        benefits they confer on the communities that surround them. …

        Of course, there are various other options that the School District could explore, ranging
        from raising pool usage fees to soliciting corporate sponsorships. It’s not hard to imagine
        that a handful of corporations might be willing to donate funds for the pool’s annual
        operation in exchange for some sort of recognition (wall plaques on the pool walls,
        notices in swimming meet programs, etc.). My concern – which is shared by many others
        – is that the School District isn’t really exploring all of its options, and has done nothing to
        enlist the community’s support to help it identify and pursue those options.

        As you might guess, I have a personal interest in keeping the Juanita pool open. As a
        former collegiate swimmer, I’ve been swimming at the pool’s morning lap swim several
        days each week for more than 15 years. My two children – one a recent Juanita High
        School graduate, and the other currently a junior at the school – took swimming lessons
        at the facility when they were young. My son got his lifeguard certification at the pool,
        and has since guarded at the pool as well as at other area pools and beaches.

         Despite my obvious self-interest in keeping the Juanita pool open, I’m just one of
         hundreds, if not thousands, of pool users each year. I don’t know the statistics, but I’m
         sure those users include hundreds of young children annually who take swimming
         lessons. You would think the School District would place significant weight on the
         benefits derived – and the tragedies averted – from just this one element of the pool’s
         programs. …

         I think it’s extremely important that the School District not rush to judgment about the
         future of the Juanita pool because of a single-minded focus on the fiscal challenges the
         pool presents. … I urge the School District to fully explore any and all options available
         to keep the Juanita pool open. I think the District should also take a long-range view, and
         consider the significant cost of having to build a new replacement pool at some point in
         the future.

         By the end of April, 2009, the president of WAVE Aquatics, a USA Swimming-affiliated team,
wrote that the team had been invited by the school district to submit a proposal to take over the
management of the pool, and toward that end the team had “compiled an outline business plan; … had
two meetings with the District and … conducted an inspection of the pool infrastructure.”              The team
stated it believed “that we can operate this pool at least at break-even and gain other benefits such as
running swim lessons that will act as a feeder to our competitive program.”              This update concluded

         The uncertainty over the future of swimming in our area created over the past few months
         and the enterprise of the various entities who have responded … has actually put us in a
         stronger position than we were at the beginning of the year. Our pools were in need of
         repair/upgrade as well as a fresh evaluation in operating practices and this is now in

         Finally, in what seems to have been a happy ending, and new beginning for the school district,
pool, swim team, and community, it was reported that the WAVE Aquatics team had “been selected as
[the district’s] preferred pool management organization for the Juanita High School pool, following a
Request For Proposal (RFP) process.”
         B. The Philadelphia Story
         Jim Ellis is a swim coach in Philadelphia who inspired the film “Pride,”depicting his success in
building a small group of non-swimming or barely swimming African-American youth into a very
competitive swim team, as well as his efforts to save their aging swimming pool.               Because of his

   “Letter to the Editor – Possible Juanita High School Pool Closure,”, Kirkland, WA (March 12,

      “Local Pools Face Closure Amid Budget Cuts,”, Kirkland, WA (APRIL 27, 2009),
    “Lake Washington School District Selects WAVE Aquatics to Manage Juanita Pool; Ensures Pool Will Stay Open
Despite Budget Cuts,” (July 2, 2009),, Kirkland, WA

passionate interest in urban aquatic programs, Mr. Ellis agreed to a telephone interview with one of the
members of our committee.           The following narrative is effectively an epilogue to the movie -- one
containing several valuable lessons for our community.
           Mr. Ellis told us that shortly after the movie “Pride” came out, and despite the successfully
growing aquatics program, his school’s swimming pool was closed down permanently. He said the pool
was actually not very old, having been built as recently as 1980. Closing the pool killed the aquatics
programs that had been using the pool, including the swim team that Mr. Ellis and his athletes had
worked so hard to develop. Mr. Ellis subsequently resigned his position.
           Mr. Ellis said that the tendency to neglect needed maintenance of swimming pools, particularly in
diverse urban areas, is nationwide, and that is why many pools in these areas close down. As Mr. Ellis
stated, “The city and school administrators don’t care because they go to the private clubs to swim.”
           In a few months, Mr. Ellis will be heading up the aquatics programs at a new pool and recreation
facility, the Salvation Army Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center. Joan Kroc was the widow of
Ray Kroc, the founder of McDonald’s Corp. Upon her death in 2003, she bequeathed nearly $2 billion to
a variety of philanthropic causes. By far the largest gift was 1.6 billion to the Salvation Army,             which has
been aggressively investing in building community centers across the country, including this one in
Philadelphia, using a matching grant formula to stretch the dollars.              The Philadelphia facility is at the
junction of several of North Philadelphia’s most underserved neighborhoods, and its aquatic programs will
utilize a warm water pool, a two-lane lap pool, a 10-lane, 25-meter by 25-yard competition pool, and a
family water park area containing a slide and “lazy river.”
           Various foundations, including the Salvation Army, donated $72 Million towards the Philadelphia
facility, and Mr. Ellis headed up efforts to raise $72 Million in matching funds. Mr. Ellis recommended that
we contact John Cruzat at USA Swimming, who is in charge of minority/diversity issues, and that Mr.
Cruzat would probably be able to provide further information regarding such philanthropic and grant
funding, as well as further direction for programming. (St. Louis Swim Studio, LLC, is already working
with USA Swimming on programming and development.)
           Mr. Ellis said that at the new facility he plans to again start up swim teams, and that lessons and
swim teams will be available for persons between the ages of 5 and thirty years. (A variety of other
aquatics activities will be available to swimmers of all ages.) Mr. Ellis noted that membership and other
fees for using the facility are based on a sliding scale, depending on income. Mr. Ellis also intends to
offer swimming lessons to students in the Philadelphia Public Schools. (It was not clear whether these
lessons would be part of the curriculum, would be during the school day, etc.)

     Telephone conversation with Jim Ellis, the swim coach featured in the movie “Pride,” January 28, 2010.

        Mr. Ellis related his conviction, from his many years of experience in an urban setting, that an
aquatics center is much more than just a place for competitive swimming.             With the right kind of
programming, he said, “it can be a whole family thing” and the “whole community” can participate and
benefit. He also remarked that it’s “a health thing,” with potential of literally “saving kids” by positively
affecting the drowning rates for minorities and other health issues faced by today’s children and teens,
and that family recreation and aquatic centers can help the “whole community.” Mr. Ellis ended the
conversation by reiterating that “teaching children to swim at a young age is very important, optimally
beginning before the age of eight.”
                           XIII.   PLANS FOR KEEPING THE NAT OPEN NOW
        A. View the Natatorium Remaining Open, and Students Learning To Swim, As a Life-Or-
        Death Issue
        It is vitally necessary that our students learn to swim.      Reducing the drowning rates of our
students, especially African-American students whose membership in the highest risk category puts them
at three times greater risk for death by drowning than students in other groups, is non-negotiable. We as
a school district have a moral responsibility to use all means available to us, namely, the Natatorium and
teachers and coaches talented at transforming non-swimmers into swimmers, to accomplish this.
        Further, the risk of a much shorter life of poorer quality due to obesity and all of its ramifications
can be greatly reduced by getting more of our young people swimming.
        The committee strongly endorses the District returning to a policy of providing every child with
swimming lessons as part of PE. While PE is valuable for many reasons, this is the only part of PE that is
so directly a matter of life and death. Students do not die for lack of skill at baseball or soccer. They do
drown. We had one such drowning of a District student in recent memory, a boy who innocently accepted
an invitation to a birthday party at a hotel and wound up lifeless at the bottom of the hotel pool. That is
one drowning death too many, and we must resolve to do all we can to ensure such a tragedy never
again happens to a child in University City.
        B. Allocate Funding to Repair the Natatorium So It Will Last Until a Replacement Facility
        Can Be Funded and Built
        As discussed in connection with the capital improvements list presented at the May meeting,
there is a big difference -- hundreds of thousands of dollars -- between the funding it would take to
dramatically refurbish the Nat and make it “shipshape” for another decade or more and that which it would
take to keep the Nat “limping along” physically. Based on the committee's understanding of short-term
financial constraints, and consistent with the approach described by Mr. Scheidt, the committee
recommends currently applying only the most needed “band-aids” and “duct tape.” This approach will
buy time for two vital steps:
        1.        Professional investigation and planning regarding long-term alternatives for an aquatics
                  facility at the Nat site, comparing the approaches of: (a) refurbishing the existing one-
                  pool facility; (b) substantially repurposing and expanding the existing building to
                  accommodate additional pools and perhaps some other athletic equipment (e.g. an

                  aerobics-machine room); and (c) demolition of the Nat and replacement with a larger
                  facility including multiple pools as well as a variety of other athletic facilities.
        2.        Aggressive growth in all manner of aquatics activities for both District students and the
                  larger community.
        The committee does not advocate a "Field of Dreams" approach -- "build it and they will come."
Rather, we are optimistic about the approach of first getting them to come by providing plentiful and
varied aquatic programming and then, once the support for aquatics has thus been demonstrated,
building it. But some preliminary planning for the "build it" stage, whether it involves option (a), (b), or (c),
above, must begin immediately.
        C. Continue to Grow and Market Activities at the Nat That Both Generate Revenue and
        Serve a Greater Portion of the Community.
        The School Board and District Administration has sent a strong message that the “status quo” of
serving small numbers of students and citizens could not justify paying to operate and repair the
Natatorium. Therefore, the committee focused on realistically raising revenues to help offset operating
expenses, without expecting the Nat (nor any other facility of the School District) to fully cover its
operating expenses with cash revenues.
        As documented in earlier sections of this report, already the school year 2009-2010 has shown a
dramatic increase in revenue-generating functions use of the Nat by St. Louis Swim Studio, LLC;
University City Swim Club; and St. Louis Area Polo – a change that has had a direct impact on the
“bottom line.” Additionally, there has been explosive growth in membership on the UCHS girls’ swim
team -- from only 5 members in 2008 to 29 in 2009-2010. This year has not been status quo.
        This growth is the result of both hard work by volunteers, coaches, athletes, and others. Further,
this growth demonstrates the community’s strong interest in aquatics -- which so many residents had
proclaimed in April and May of 2009 -- so that this is no longer “an article of faith” or mere opinion, but
objective fact.
        In the past, a well-founded criticism has been the lack of publicity provided for activities at the
Nat; indeed, many citizens are not even aware that University City has an indoor swimming pool. Strong
support by the District and the City in marketing these types of activities in the publications that are
produced at taxpayers’ expense,         on related websites, and through press releases, would greatly help in
informing more citizens about opportunities available at the Nat, and this could only help the programs
grow further.
        D. Increase Multi-Generational, Fee-for-Use Offerings at the Nat
        According to State Representative Maria Nadel Chappell,                 the District may lose some state
education funding due to a drop in our school age population and consequent drops in enrollment. From

   E.g., the City’s printed “Recreation Guide”, the City Manager’s weekly email newsletter, School District and PTO
emails, fliers in backpack folders.
   Personal communication with George Lenard, Jan. 22, 2010.

a positive standpoint, this means we have a growing population of vibrant seniors, and these older adults
benefit greatly from participation in the low-impact activity of water exercise and swimming.
        Several elderly people who use our Natatorium several times per week have already stated to the
“School Board how valuable this activity is to them from a health standpoint. Also, these people would tell
each of you that, while they could drive elsewhere to swim, they prefer to swim at their Natatorium with
their community of University City swimmers.
         A seventy year old woman is training twice weekly for a competitive swim in October 2010. She
is commemorating fifty years of marriage with a multigenerational swim from Angel Island in SF Bay to
Tiburon, approximately one mile. She is a formerly nationally ranked athlete who finds the traditional
masters early morning hours difficult and inconvenient.
        The hours of City public swim are extremely limited compared to all neighboring pools, surely
causing University City residents to swim elsewhere. Some residents working at home or nearby might
like to swim during the lunch hour, for example, a much more convenient time for many than early
morning or evening.
        As a glance at the offerings of most neighboring pools demonstrates, there are a wide variety of
popular water exercise programs that can be offered, with apparent interest in such activities that are
offered in weekday morning hours the Nat is currently completely unused (i.e. between 6:00 AM and
noon). In this regard, there are now opportunities to keep the Nat busy that literally did not exist when it
was built (organized water exercise, water walking, water running, deep-water aerobics, and triathlon
training, for example).
        When the Nat first opened, students were able to use it for free after school, and the City held a
weekly “Teenage Night,” for a reasonable fee. Youth are always in need of healthy, safe, fun activities,
and there is no reason a “Teenage Night” at the Nat could not be successful once again.
        Broadening the scope and hours of programs to meet the needs of senior citizens and others
could be mutually beneficial to these pool patrons as well as to the Nat as it seeks to increase its fee-for-
usage revenues.
        E. Cultivate Private, Rental Use of the Nat by Other Groups That Support University City
        Miguel Figueras, a nationally-renowned water polo coach, grew up here in University City and is
raising his children here. He heads up a growing, multi-age-level water polo club, SLAP, which just this
year placed first among club water polo teams in the region.
        While Mr. Figueras currently rents the Nat for practices, he would like to use it more. This
arrangement, as noted above, has been mutually beneficial in generating revenue for the Nat, and,
through SLAP-funded scholarships, allowing students who otherwise could not afford to play club water
polo the opportunity to do so.
        Just this month, Mr. Figueras is hosting a tournament through SLAP. Because of our lack of
marketing, he was unaware that the Nat would have been available as a venue for this tournament.
Hosting the tournament at our Natatorium could have generated pool-rental as well as admissions

revenues. Because of a failure to promote and market the availability of the Nat for this type of fee-for-
usage special event, Mr. Figueras arranged to have this tournament in St. Charles. He specifically stated
he would have preferred the Nat.
          This could be viewed as simply a lost opportunity, but the committee looks at it as an example of
the great opportunities that exist to increase fee-for-rental use of the Nat by a coach with a very well-
established and flourishing program whose pool needs will increase in future years. Arranging for SLAP
to call the Nat its “home” pool would give the Nat, as landlord, a reliable tenant, namely, SLAP. Nat
programming would have three strong legs: UCSC, SLAP, and St. Louis Swim Studio, LLC.
          Having one of the premier water polo clubs in St. Louis based right here in University City would
help introduce this sport, which can be played well into the senior years, to many more U City youth.
Also, putting SLAP in a location that is within walking distance would help make club water polo much
more accessible then when participation in the sport requires parents or students to drive many miles for
each practice.
          This is but one example of opportunities that exist for increasing fee-for-rental usage and
revenues for our Nat with its terrific, central location. Others include: scuba and lifeguard training; Scout
          86                       87                                               88                                   89
groups;        triathlon groups;        additional private and parochial schools;        synchronized swimming groups,
and nearby private fitness centers that lack pools (e.g., Curves).
          F. Support and Encourage Mary Lhotak’s St. Louis Swim Studio to Become a Driver of
          Aquatics Growth in University City
          As discussed above, Mary Lhotak’s Swim Studio has plans to aggressively develop a wide variety
of new programs and activities. Her success to date with Swim Studio is further confirmation of the very
real interest in and market for aquatics in University City.
          One subject that has been vexing to the committee is how increased revenue-generating
programming could best be led, organized, marketed, and managed. There is strong consensus that
someone must take this lead, and must have a financial incentive of some sort to do so. It cannot be
done ad hoc by volunteers or by adding yet another duty to the plates of already-busy District staff or
swim club coaches.
          At least one meeting involved extensive discussion of this subject, comparing various possible
models for running a beefed-up menu of public aquatics, including swimming lessons and water exercise
classes, as well as expanded public swim sessions and other uses. These models included:
          1.         Running it out of the athletic or PE departments at UCHS, much as is done at Ladue.

   One of the original community uses of the Nat, as set out in the above history.
   St. Louis Triathlon Club has Saturday swim practices at Crestview Middle School pool in Ballwin. The Nat might
be a more convenient location for many members.
   Many University City children attend such schools; allowing them to benefit from the Nat can help maintain ties
and goodwill between the District and these families despite this fact. Many children attending Christ the King
Catholic School, just a few blocks from the Nat, are members of UCSC, so there are already ties between the Nat
and this school, such that its use of the Nat for student swim lessons or recreation could be readily explored.
   St Louis Gateway Synchro team currently uses pools at Forest Park Community College and the Brentwood Y.

            2.      Absorbing it into UCSC’s functions, as is done by the Hazlewood East Swim Club.
            3.      Creating a new nonprofit University City aquatics organization to hire a manager.
            4.      Using entrepreneurial incentives (i.e. profit motive) to contract with an existing swim
                    instructor or swim school.
            The first option seemed problematic because it entailed adding a District position at a time of
severe budgetary constraints. The second was rejected by the UCSC Board, which felt its “plate was full”
trying to ensure the ability to contribute meaningfully to Nat revenues by growing enrollment, while also
running meets and strengthening ties with the USA Swimming organization and its Ozark Local
Swimming Committee. The third seemed to not really solve the problem (a person would still be needed
to do the hard work, not a volunteer organization) and to merely create a new layer of bureaucracy.
            About the time of this discussion, we were fortunate to discover that the fourth option was a viable
possibility, in the person of someone already employed part time by both the District and UCSC, who had
a customer list and referral sources, appropriate experience and certifications, and a properly
incorporated fledgling swimming lesson business looking for a new “pool home” (Mary Lhotak and St.
Louis Swim Studio, LLC).
            Mary will require support and assistance, but this is her dream, and the committee believes it is a
viable one, and one that presents the best opportunity for the aggressive expansion of Nat usage and
programming that is needed.
            An architect who frequently uses the Nat has stated that a basic “due diligence” assessment
comparing the relative merits and costs of renovating and/or expanding the existing building to those of
demolishing it and building a new could be provided for $3000-5000.
            According to this architect, the biggest barrier to a major renovation/expansion project would be
compliance with ADA handicap accessibility requirements. This is difficult due to the building’s three-level
design. Although a ramp leads to the pool deck level, access to the locker rooms and viewing area is
more problematic. Possibly, one or more elevators could be worked into a renovation design for this
purpose. Perhaps the ADA capital expenses on Mr. Scheidt’s list reflect an appropriate solution not
thought through by this individual, who was not professionally engaged but speaking informally.
            The sense of this architect, as well as another one familiar with the Nat,          is that the basic
structure of the building is sound, although seismically vulnerable by current standards. The fact that it is
a concrete frame structure, rather than a steel structure, makes it less suitable to creative adaptive reuse,
although some reconfiguration of interior spaces is possible.
            It is beyond the scope of this unfunded committee to draw up specific plans, tailor-made for the
District, for either the financial or specific structural groundwork for a new or substantially modified
aquatics facility. An analysis of that depth would require a paid, professional feasibility study. However,

     Bob Winters.
     Bryan Sechrist.

members of this committee of volunteers have spent countless hours to research resources which would
provide us with support for such an endeavor, and to build personal contacts that would prove very
          A. USA Swimming and Its “Make a Splash” Initiative
          USA Swimming is first among these useful resources. Besides being the official governing body
for the sport of swimming in the United States, it is a nonprofit organization that reaches out to various
community groups on request, hosts an annual build-a-pool conference for individuals and groups in need
of such information, provides models of various pool structures and aquatic center configurations, and
provides aquatic programming consulting. Some of these services are free of charge to member teams
and their affiliated organizations.   Others are available under USA Swimming "preferred provider"
discount arrangements with various proven aquatic consultants and contractors. These resources are all
available to the District by virtue of the fact that the Nat is the own pool of UCSC, a long-standing USA
Swimming member team.
          USA Swimming is in the midst of an unprecedented initiative to both increase diversity in the
sport of swimming and combat drowning deaths by making affordable swimming lessons available to all
children. The push for diversity is coming through on the local level.
          USA Swimming created a separate nonprofit organization, the USA Swimming Foundation, as a
fund-raising arm supporting its “Make a Splash” initiative, which focuses on reaching out to groups in
locations where access to swimming instruction is an unmet need. “Make a Splash" provides swimming
lessons indirectly, through partnerships with various organizations, including USA Swimming member
clubs, as well as private swim schools, facilities such as YMCAs, municipalities, and schools.
          Olympic swimmer Cullen Jones, one of the first African-American Olympic swimmers, is a
spokesperson for the “Make a Splash” initiative. His swimming career began when he nearly drowned at
the age of five because he did not know how to swim. “Make a Splash” has completed a pilot program in
Atlanta that helped 2500 inner-city kids learn to swim. When a committee member first learned about
“Make a Splash” in May 2009, the USA Swimming Foundation was largely unfunded. Today, it has
sufficient funds to have started accepting grant applications and, pursuant to them, distributing funds for
swimming lesson scholarships.
          USA Swimming personnel have met personally with a committee member, followed by extensive
e-mail correspondence, and have signaled an interest in bringing “Make a Splash” to the Nat. With that
comes an interest in ensuring that we have a viable pool to use. USA Swimming has thus provided us
with valuable moral support as well as the brochures that accompany this report.
          The USA Swimming organization was cited by Mr. Jim Ellis, the coach in the movie “Pride,” which
was discussed earlier in this report, as instrumental in assisting his group with securing financing and

   At the January 30, 2009, meeting of the USA Swimming Ozark Local Swimming Committee, of which UCSC is a
member, UCSC President George Lenard heard it mentioned at least twice as an important policy that was guiding
certain changes.

providing guidance in constructing the new aquatics center in Philadelphia at which he will continue to
carry out his mission of promoting swimming among disadvantaged urban youth.                 Mr. Ellis strongly
encouraged this committee to work with USA Swimming, and he repeatedly emphasized that USA
Swimming is eager to work with groups serving diverse populations, such as our District.
         The committee has discovered personal connections between several UCHS alumni and different
USA Swimming personnel, with the result that we feel we are very well networked and positioned to take
maximum advantage of all that the organization offers.
         St. Louis Swim Studio, LLC, plans to become a "Make a Splash" partner within two months,
making University City the first "Make a Splash" location in the St. Louis area. Becoming allied with this
initiative in its early days is a key element in the committee's long-term vision for promoting water safety
and all forms of aquatic activity in the Nat and any successor facility that may be built.
         It is with this background that we present information provided by USA Swimming regarding the
three main types of pools that should be included in an indoor aquatic facility designed to meet the needs
of multiple generations and swimming ability levels. These are presented to give a “taste” of what may be
possible for University City if the Board decides to support efforts to fund and build a new aquatics center,
and are not meant to serve as specific recommendations for a future aquatic facility here in University
City, as facility design would have to be customized to fit our particular needs.
         B. Three-Pool Configurations Suit a Variety of Needs and Interests
         The following are just 3 different types of pool which could, together, serve many people of
various ages and swimming ability levels. These pool and facility descriptions are provided to render a
general idea of possibilities if the School Board and District administration decides to pursue this. The
USA Swimming materials from which this is drawn contain a great deal more detail, including ballpark
pricing for various alternatives for pool and building construction.
         Pool #1 The first pool would be at least 25 yards long by at least 42 feet wide. The more width,
the more lanes for programming. There should be a side stair entry or even a ramp. This pool should be
kept at around 82 degrees, and the focus would be on lap swimming and some high intensity vertical
aerobic exercise. It would be the primary pool for competitive swim training by swim team, masters, and
         While USA Swimming recommends depths of 4’ at the shallowest end and 5’ at the deepest end
to accommodate starting blocks, such a relatively shallow pool will not accommodate the sports of diving
or water polo, which require greater pool depths. By building an all-deep pool, which is considered the
current state-of-the-art configuration for competition pools, these two sports could be accommodated.
Diving could be added to the girls and boys UCHS teams. Currently, with no diving board, we have no
diverse, and at every swimming/diving meet these teams attend they receive zero points for diving, points
that would have been counted towards a possible win.
         From a fiscal standpoint, by building an all-deep pool, the new UCHS aquatics facility would be
more attractive for fee-for-rentals. Obviously, renting the facility for tournaments and large meets, with

revenues coming in not only for lane rental but also for spectator admissions and concessions, could
greatly offset maintenance and operating costs.
          Pool #2 The second pool could be 25 yards long by at least 24 feet wide. There should be a
side ramped entry that is not included in the 24 feet of width. Water depth should be 42” at ramped entry
base to 52” at the deepest part. This pool should be kept around 88 degrees. This pool would focus on
swim lessons, water walking, vertical flexibility and relaxation training.
          Pool #3 The third pool could be 40 feet long by at least 20 feet wide. There should be both a
side stair and a side ramped entry designed. Water depth should be 36” at the base of the ramp quickly
graduating to 48” for 30 feet of the length of the pool. The remaining 10 feet of the length could be 7 feet
deep. There should be special water flow jets for hydrotherapy effects. This pool should be kept around
90 degrees.      This pool would focus on aquatic rehab/therapy, special needs lessons, and water
disciplines that have a very low activity level.
          Such a pool would be useful for some of the most popular and most revenue-generating
functions, particularly with respect to our aging population. These are water-based physical therapy, the
cost of which is often covered by medical insurance; and water exercise for arthritis, which is promoted by
the Arthritis Foundation. The committee has learned that although warmer temperatures are preferable
for arthritis water exercise, they are not essential; and that the Arthritis Foundation is a potential source of
teachers trained to lead such exercise groups, which would fit nicely in the Nat's empty morning hours,
when retirees could conveniently attend.
          C. Additional recommendations concerning facility amenities (as recommended by USA
          In addition, the facility should have adequate dressing, shower, and restroom areas including at
least 2 unisex/family dressing/shower rooms. Offices, viewing area, meeting rooms, vending areas, and
dry land exercise areas should also be included. Retail rental spaces can also be considered, with an
eye to not only increasing convenience to patrons, but raising revenue to offset operating costs. The
minimum size for such a facility is 21,000 square feet. It can of course be designed to 30,000 square feet
to include more features.
          We need not wait for a new facility to derive some revenue from retail sales at the Nat. One
possibility is vending machines with healthy snacks and drinks. Another is operating concessions for
certain events. At its meets, UCSC sells concessions from the central lobby space formerly used to
distribute swimsuits and towels to students taking swimming lessons.
          D. Need for Individuality, Citizen Input in Aquatics Facility Design
          Somewhere between the double 50 meter racing course with the Olympic Diving tank (plus the 3
other pools it takes to fulfill community programming needs) and the single pool, 6 lane 25 yard, old
model (like the Nat), there exists a vision of the “ideal facility” for University City. This would balance

      Note the variety of forms of water exercise mentioned.

current District and community needs with a vision to accommodate growth in interest in and use of the
aquatic facility for an ever-greater variety of uses, and would provide the optimal chance of financial
             E. Seven Pitfalls of Pool Project Development
             "The planning and development of a pool project is a fragile process. It doesn’t take very much at
all to shatter the chances for it to be what the community really needs. The pitfalls are predictable; we
hear about and see them every day at USA Swimming."                 Maybe identifying the most common and
devastating pitfalls or “Deadly Sins” can help people who may work on this project in the future to avoid
them. So, here they are, again according to USA swimming:
             1. Hiring the wrong firms for feasibility study. A firm that understands aquatic facility design for
                total aquatic programming is the only way to go.
                Solution: Ask the Facilities Department at USA Swimming for referrals for Feasibility Studies
                for current design trends for community total aquatics.
             2. Designing the facility before planning for programming and for future growth of programming;
                a designer who uses a “cookie-cutter” approach will have less expense if he follows his old
                familiar designs than if he explores new designs to meet your unique needs. Solution: Know
                the temperature, access, and depth for each pool your programs need, and make sure you
                stick to your programming goals. Do not give in for budgetary reasons; there is usually
                another way to get what you need.
             3. Hiring the wrong design or engineering firm.
                Solution: When conducting the search for the design firm, let all parties know up-front that
                you want all building options explored and that the bid language cannot be exclusive.
             4. Building only one pool. This antiquated design is the first option considered by many
                designers. It can save some space, but likely will not meet multi-generational or multi-ability
                level needs.
                Solution: Make it clear that the footprint of the building has to include multiple pools. In most
                cases, a separate pool will cost less than a stretch pool or bulkheads.
             5. Putting emphasis on faddish recreation rather on community –based aquatic services. There
                is nothing wrong with a water slide or a zero-depth area with a spray mushroom. However,
                this should not be the focus of the facility. Kids do learn to swim, and get bored with these
                “baby pools” quickly.
                Solution: Proper innovative design can include multiple features—even in the same pool if
                necessary. Diving and slides and sprays and vertical exercise all like the 88 degree water, so
                a single tank with a variety of accesses and depth can work well if necessary.
             6. Partnering with an entity that cannot deliver total aquatic programming. Partnering with a
                school, or YMCA, or club or other entity can be a lifesaver for a project. Make sure from the
                beginning that everyone knows who is going to be responsible for what. Nothing is more
                frustrating for a community than to have a new facility with old fashion programming.
                Solution: Consult USA Swimming Club Development; they have an Aquatic Programming
                Specialist to help resolve issues in this area. Contact for

   Note that this recommendation is a powerful reason to opt for either a complete new building or a major
building alteration to accommodate additional pools, if this is even possible (there is potentially land both
in front of and behind the building).
           information about Learn-2-Swim, Aquatic Exercise, Aquatic Therapy and Rehab, Risk
           Management, and of course, competitive swimming.
        7. Not having a local leader who can keep the project on track. Whenever there is a community
           service and money is involved, there will be people who appear with private agendas. There
           must be a local leader who can defend the needs of the community vs. the wants, and be the
           champion for “programming precedes design.” This is a daunting task, but most important if
           the project is to be successful.
           Solution: Send a representative who is a stakeholder, a tax-paying citizen of University City,
           who is knowledgeable about the pool building process, to the USA Swimming Build a Pool
           Conference held annually in April in Colorado Springs. (
           This person will become a very informed liaison between the project and USA Swimming
           Facilities Development Department and our preferred providers.

        F. Some Approaches to Funding

        Private financing – alumni donations foundation

                             XV.    CONCLUSIONS/RECOMMENDATIONS
        Many in the University City community would like to be able to build new aquatics facility

tomorrow. However, that is unrealistic. The Center of Clayton, with almost 50% of its funding donated by

the May Company, and with many businesses financing memberships to provide an instant membership

base for further long-term financial support, took TEN years from idea inception until the Center’s

completion. In today’s economy, in a community less affluent than Clayton, we know that it will take time

to finance and build a new school district/community aquatics center.

        In the meantime, we still need an indoor aquatics center here in University City. And…we HAVE

an indoor aquatics center right here in University City. It may be old, but so are we, and so are the houses

we live in. We University City residents who choose to live in, care for, and love these old houses are

used to fixing up “old” buildings rather than throwing them away. Sure, it’s going to take more than the

usual U City fixit material of duct tape and bailing wire to repair the Natatorium, but it can continue to

serve the needs of the students and other people who call the “Nat” their aquatic home.

        So, to be direct, let’s maintain the Nat that we have now, with a very conservative spending

approach, so that it will last until we can build a new or expanded aquatic center.) Otherwise, according

to respected members of our aquatics community and aquatics authorities around the nation, if we close

the Nat, all of our current aquatics programs, both those serving University City High School students,

and those serving the rest of the community, will die.

        A. Specific Recommendations to the School Board:
    1. Fund and perform the immediately-necessary repairs to keep the Natatorium functioning
       efficiently and reliably (See Section IX.E. of this report.)

    2. Perform remaining repairs according to the priority list provided by Mr. Scheidt when and as
       possible and needed. (See Section IX.E.)

    3. Continue, and vigorously support, the now-growing varsity aquatics teams at University City High
       School. Whatever programming is done to increase revenue at the Nat should always give
       precedence to the varsity aquatics teams, as the Nat was funded by taxpayers and built first and
       foremost for District students.

    4. Re-establish swimming lessons as an integral part of the PE curriculum of the School District of
       University City, beginning at Brittany Woods in the fall of 2010, as proposed by Superintendent
       Joylynn Wilson at the July 2009 Natatorium Committee meeting. Increase the frequency and
       breadth of swimming instruction to District students gradually, with the goal of providing basic
       swimming lessons for all at the elementary, middle, and high school level. Integrate this program
       with “Make A Splash,” whether through direct District partnership or by encouraging students to
       take further lessons from St. Louis Swim Studio, using “Make A Splash” and Swim Studio
       scholarships as needed.

    5. Enlarge UCHS aquatics instructional offerings with classes in areas such as Red Cross
       Lifesaving Certification; scuba lessons and certification; and lessons in water sports such as
       water polo; synchronized swimming, etc. during the school day and as a part of the PE curriculum
       of University City High School. It is anticipated that as more students are taught how to swim,
       interest in and demand for these advanced aquatics classes will be created and increase
       substantially over time.

    6. Encourage the athletic training staff at UCHS to utilize water therapy and other in-water exercises
       for injured athletes. It is hoped that then these trainers could take advantage of having a pool on-
       site to help injured athletes from all sports remain in shape by performing water walking or other
       activities in a gravity free environment. Such activities could be done during the school day and
       at other times, as had been frequently done in the past at the Nat.

    7. Continue to support and more vigorously market the current public swim opportunities now
       available at the Natatorium (e.g., morning and evening lap swimming.)

    8. Increase opportunities for paid swimming for the University City community with activities such as
       weekend recreational swimming sessions; swimming lessons offered on weekends and school
       days off, etc.

    9. With input from various age groups, expand activities offered during the day with activities such
       as cardio workout for retirees, exercise classes for person with arthritis, etc. (at least until the
       District has re-established swim lessons in the curriculum and the pool is busy throughout the
       school day, as it originally was)

    10. Continue the already-established partnerships with groups now paying to use the Natatorium
        such as University City Swim Club, St. Louis Area Polo, Masters Swim Club, etc., since these
        groups have established themselves as “reliable tenants” and have strong ties to University City.
        These groups also have a history of supporting the youth and elderly of University City. That
        these groups have historically reached out to University City residents and provided scholarships

    to qualifying citizens should also be taken into account by giving these University City-based
    groups priority scheduling.

11. Encourage vigorous development of fee-for-service usage of the Natatorium. Activities of this
    type would include but not be limited to: rental of the Natatorium for private parties and private
    schools renting the Natatorium during the school day for swimming lessons. (It is expected that
    as the University City Schools resume teaching its students to swim, the Natatorium would not be
    as available to private schools for swim lessons.)

12. Market and in other ways support the newly-formed St. Louis Swim Studio which has chosen the
    Natatorium as its “base” and has operated exclusively at the Nat, weeknights between 5:00 PM
    and 7:00 PM. This swim school provides fee-for-service swim lessons to people of all ages, and
    generates income for the Natatorium with lane rental fees. Scholarships have also been given to
    students with documented need, in the best of University City traditions. Encourage Mary Lhotak
    and Swim Studio to carry through on current plans for expanded services and possibly to manage
    and coordinate others. This management opportunity could also be put out for bid, as was done
    in Lake Washington School District.

13. Authorize the creation of a committee to work toward funding and building new aquatics facility.

14. Seek seed money to hire a professional fund raiser to research and write grants, solicit corporate
    and foundation funding, and individual donations, and in other ways raise the significant amount
    of money that will be necessary for building a new, quality aquatics facility. Such monies could
    replace or supplement taxpayer-supported bonds. Expecting private, amateur citizen-volunteers
    to be as successful as professional fundraisers in the face of such a large financial task is totally
    unrealistic. It is known that there are many UCHS alumni who may be interested in supporting
    such a project, particularly as part of a broader athletic facility.

15. Take advantage of the lower-than-expected bonding rates obtained for the Prop U work to pursue
    another no-tax-increase bond issue when possible to help fund a new aquatics and athletic
    center, bundling it with funding of other needs, such as remaining Prop U work. The committee
    strongly believes that such bundling, which is how the Nat bonding was originally passed, has the
    potential to strengthen community support for the school projects, by using a community center-
    type of project as a means of better appealing to the many voters who have no children in District

16. Pursue partnerships with an eye to grants and other funding, with groups such as the nonprofit
    “Make a Splash” Foundation. ‘Make a Splash” provides guidance, assistance, and some financial
    support in establishing community learn-to-swim programs and also help to promote aquatics for
    health and safety.

17. Vigorously pursue other sources of funding for a new aquatics center such as grants. Pursue 501
    3C status for a “Natatorium Foundation” to provide means for philanthropists to contribute to a
    charity which would provide them with a tax exemption. Consider setting up an endowment
    whereby our illustrious and well-endowed University City High School alumni might contribute
    monies for a new aquatic center.

18. Solicit input from interested citizens concerning their current desires for what should be included
    in a new aquatic center. If, as we envision, more University City residents learn to swim as a
    result of swimming lessons being offered during the school day and on weekends, and if there is
    more vigorous development and promotion of programs at the Nat, there would be greater
    interest on the part of stakeholders in a full service aquatics center. Perhaps a multi-pool
    complex, with various venues for swimmers and non-swimmers as described in section XIV of
    this report, would be in demand by citizens. It remains to be seen, but input should be welcomed
    and considered.


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