Another favorable vote for the North Kitsap pool

POULSBO — The North Kitsap School District board of directors made a spur-of-the-moment decision at Thursday’s meeting that will greatly aid the pool’s plight.

As it stands now the North Kitsap Community Pool and Poulsbo Middle share an energy-use meter. The board’s long been calling for a breakdown of energy use and separate metering, as that will nail down an accurate read on just how much the pool’s utilities cost, and where the bulk of the expenditures come from.

The Capital Facilities Advisory Committee (CFAC), which met Wednesday, agreed, as all voted to request the board to allocate funds, except one member who abstained.

Action wasn’t on the agenda Thursday, but the CFAC recommended the board approve funds, not to exceed $25,000, for an energy audit and isolated metering of the pool’s utilities, and the board unanimously agreed.

The $25,000 comes out of the Capital Facilities funds. Those funds are earmarked solely for capital projects and cannot be applied toward any other education need.

School Board Member Dan Delaney wanted to make this crystal clear.

“It’s coming out of our capital projects fund, it’s not money we could use for any other purpose,” Delaney emphasized. “These are capital funds.”

Executive Director of Finance and Operations, Nancy Moffatt, who’s also on the Pool Advisory Committee (PAC), told the board on behalf of the CFAC the recommendation is a sound one, whether NKSD or another party operates the pool.

“The recommendation really will have a payoff,” Moffatt said. “These are things that would benefit future operations of the pool.”

Quantum Engineering, a firm NKSD has a working history with, will most likely be charged with conducting the energy audit to the tune of $5,135. The separation of meters is aimed to be completed in-house by the Facilities and Maintenance department, as it will save NKSD a chunk of change, and is estimated to ring in at $16,265.

School Board Member Ed Strickland, who determines the majority of his votes on future financial efficacy, was very pleased with the recommendation, as it was a solid financial move.

“This is a good investment in terms of making the pool eventually viable for the community,” he said. “It makes sense in terms of keeping the losses down. We do not want to have the pool in a situation where it can’t be turned over and by putting in metering and setting all that up you can turn it over to another group.”

Once the energy audit and separation of meters is complete, the district will be able to apply for grant funds. Moffatt excitedly shared the news of this potential benefit with the board.

“If we have this information available to us we position ourselves to start looking for grants because we have some baseline information available to us,” she said.

A pool blanket has been purchased for approximately $13,000, which also came out of capital funds. Originally the city of Poulsbo was providing NKSD with $15,000 to be used for the blanket’s purchase. However, Moffatt said the city decided to put its money toward operations. NKSD still awaits the check from the city, which needed a written agreement to support it and is currently with legal counsel, but the money’s there, Moffatt assured.

Thursday’s meeting also produced a glimmer of hope for the district’s boys swim teams, which hit the water for practice in October.

In September the board was given an October deadline to determine whether or not the pool would remain open through February so the boys could compete.

No decision has been reached or deadline met. However, Moffatt shared a good news answer to School Board President Melanie Mohler’s inquiry about the swim teams.

“At a bare minimum they could conceivably run through February,” Moffatt said. “It would just be a matter of keeping it heated and clean and that seems like a viable option for the boys team.”

The CFAC will be posting announcements and meeting schedules on the district’s Web site, and the PAC, which is diligently working to hammer out ways to reduce pool expenses and bump up revenues will present to the board in October.

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