GARLAND (CBSDFW.COM) – The fourth largest school district in DFW is missing something that some students maintain is really needed. The Garland Independent School District has seven high schools, but only two swim teams. And, according to swimmers, that is because they do not have a proper facility for hosting competitions.
Student swimmers are currently using a tiny recreation center pool for training. Pictures of the facility show small bathrooms serving as locker rooms, broken shower heads, cracked floors with sharp edges and a thick fog that can fill the building. These conditions, students have argued, are simply unacceptable.
“Sometimes the water’s too hot, sometimes it’s too cold,” said Garland High School senior Daniel Goins. “That was going to be my legacy. The fact that they don’t see it as a priority is very disturbing.”
“With that type of pool, you’ll just never get to where you need to be, if you want to go anywhere in swimming,” North Garland High School student Leila Atumah continued. “It’s subpar. It’s disgusting. There’s rust all over the floors. There’s dirt that just won’t come off.”
At a board meeting last week, several high school swimmers asked why this is still the situation even though Garland residents voted for a new swim facility two years ago. “I think it was a big slap in the face to our current swimmers,” parent Amie Goins added.
The school board explained that plans for a new indoor pool were delayed because the bid was too high. Board members held another meeting on Monday morning to discuss the issue, and voted to delay the natatorium project once again because it was more than 60 percent over budget.
The total cost was at $32 million and growing. There was talk about scaling down the design to save money, but modifications like that would have eliminated desired items like extra seating and concessions. That original construction bid will be tossed now. The board will start over in one to two years. Costs are also likely to increase with inflation.
School board president Linda Griffin said that no date was given for a new swim center. “Citizens do not approve time frames, they approve projects and estimated amounts,” Griffin explained during Monday’s meeting. “Give us time to reassess and we guarantee you we will build a natatorium and all of these projects that this district, all of the citizens, all of our students will be proud of.”