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Just a year after joint discussions began with the Williamstown school district and Williamstown City Council on a lifestyle/aquatic center, the project is taking shape.
Last week, Margie Jacobs of Tate/Hill/Jacobs Architects Inc. in Lexington, met with members of both groups to present a feasibility study and preliminary drawings of what the facility might look like.
Jacobs said the partnership between the two entities fulfilled both the school district’s vision of its facilities plan, which includes an auditorium, future elementary school and multi-purpose track and field as well as the city’s desire for a public pool.
After the two groups began meeting last year, the school and city allocated $50,000 to hire an architect and work on a feasibility study for the project.
“Our challenge was to look at how we would implement and what would phase one look like,” said Jacobs.
She said the process began with a site analysis and the need of the school district to eliminate its two mobile classrooms.
“We looked at things on the school’s facilities needs list, which is an auditorium, as well as what the city wanted,” she said. “We looked at the sun angle and breeze patterns and how we would want to place the facility to maximize both.”
Items she took into consideration included how to link a new building with the school’s existing buildings and how to locate the pool so that it could be used by the public without the public having access into the school.
Cost estimates range from $3.3 million for the pool only up to more than $7 million for the entire project.
“We have not put individual price tags for each component,” she said.
C. Ed Wilson, former Williamstown school superintendent and current city council member, serves as facilitator of the joint group.
“You have to have people with ideas to even come together and that occurred a year ago when discussion about a joint project started,” Wilson said. “To me, this is a quality of life issue for people and could be used to recruit people into our community. I also see this as complimenting the Ark Project.”
The joint group has toured several facilities including one in Russell Springs to get ideas on how to proceed on the project.
The next step is for Jacobs to present the initial feasibility study findings to the whole city council and board of education, possibly as early as next week.
“At this point in the study, you’ve not solved or addressed all of your issues,” Jacobs said. “That comes later in the process, but this is the way to start out.”
“Let’s get started,” said Eddie Gabbert, transportation director for Williamstown schools and a member of Williamstown City Council.