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GARLAND (KRLD) – The Garland Independent School District has waited decades to get a — 40 years to be exact — and now they’ll have to wait for three more. This after the school board voted down part of a bond package that would allow a swim center to be built.
Parents say the decision was a shocking insult. “I feel personally betrayed,” says Amie Goins, a parent and the head of Garland High School’s swim team booster club. “The swimming community has been motivated from the get-go because we have waited so long for a facility like this.”
The full bond package was passed by the school board in 2014. Plans for the swim center were drawn up, and after long negotiations a price tag of $27.5 million was agreed on. The swim center package and plans were presented to the school board last Tuesday for final approval. But in a surprising reversal, the board voted it down 4-3.
“We need a swimming facility, that’s all there is to it,” says Goins. “We need a place for all seven of Garland’s high school swim teams to practice.”
Right now, only students at Garland High School and North Garland High School have a practice facility, but Goins says it isn’t up to par. “They’re currently swimming in a dilapidated facility that’s privately owned in Richardson. [But it’s] not adequate for our needs at all and it’s money that’s going outside the district because it’s in Richardson.”
The board’s decision now means that if a swim center is built, it won’t happen until 2019. It could also take another 15 months to build, and the total cost is expected to increase by some $7 million.
Goins says there’s no plan in place to allow for cost escalation. “When the full bond package was passed in 2014, the district spent $1 million on the natatorium and on plans for it. If they get to 2019 and there’s no money left to build, that’s $1 million of taxpayer money gone to waste.”
Goins wants to raise awareness about the vote with hopes the Garland ISD board will put the issue back on the table. She says for a lot of families this is also personal. “Volunteers went door-to-door in 2014 to get the original bond passed. If they wait till 2019 to build this facility, none of the students whose parents fought so hard will get to swim in it.”
The Garland ISD school board has not yet responded to a request for comment.
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