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Plan for new swimming pool at Rock Island High School advances

The Rock Island Milan School District board is looking at building a new facility for the pool, which needs an additional $10 million in funding.

ROCK ISLAND, Ill. — Rock Island High School hasn't had a working swimming pool for over two years, but that could be changing.

The Rock Island-Milan School District board voted on Sept. 12 to advance plans for a new facility attached to the high school. That was after long discussion on multiple options, including renovation of the old pool.

Currently, student athletes have to practice at Augustana College's pool or other temporary locations, which parents have complained is inconvenient.

The new building is estimated to cost almost $15 million, with $5 million in funding already set aside. It includes new locker rooms, spectator seating, and a larger pool with more lanes.

Supporters said the larger size is important for the athletes, especially since it's impossible to renovate the old pool to be bigger. "We had kids that were on our high school team, that were hitting their hands on the lane lines as they were doing the butterfly during meets," board member Jason Roessler said.

However, with $10 million in additional funding needed, concerns grew over much-needed repairs at other schools, which could also cost millions. "Every student that's at every school deserves an HVAC system that works and bathrooms that work," board member Gary Rowe said. "That's where I'm at."

Ultimately, board president Terell Williams said it's worth it to go all-in. "If we gotta bear a little extra, or we gotta not do a couple things, I'm okay with that just simply because we're not coming back to do it again," he said.

The board will vote again in two weeks to approve a contract for design work. Plans are still tentative, but it's estimated the pool would be done by January 2026.

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