JACKSON TWP — After months of meetings and planning sessions, Seneca Valley School Board is down to two design options for the district’s new natatorium.
Matt Hansen, project manager with architecture firm IKM, presented the designs at the Jan. 8 school board meeting. They are the result of four planning sessions with stakeholder groups held throughout the fall of 2017.
One design would allow the district to possibly get in line with Title IX sooner than later by allowing space for an extra women’s locker room at the football stadium, while the other design would allow for better traffic and student flow and would work better with the existing topography.
Both pool designs put the new natatorium in between the intermediate high school and the middle school near the football stadium on the secondary school campus, where a building and grounds garage currently sits. The designs would both cost around $10 million.
The first design option has the pool to the southwest, closest to the football field. The spectator stands, locker rooms and classrooms are at the northeast, closest to the parking lot. The spectators would overlook the pool and have a view of the football fields and scenery beyond.
This gives more circulation and gathering space for people attending swim meets and practices, Hansen said.
It would also be easier for parent pickups and drop-offs because the entrance and gathering areas would be close to the parking lot, said Tracy Vitale, district superintendent.
It might also be the less expensive option, as it works with instead of against the existing topography, Hansen said.
“When you fight topography, you pay for it underground,” he said.
The second design is a flip of the first, putting the pool closest to the parking lot and the stands, locker rooms and other areas closest to the football stadium. The pool would be visible from the parking lot, giving it easy visibility for visitors coming to the district for swim meets.
Putting the locker rooms, spectator area and other rooms close to the football stadium would allow for a “shell space” at ground level with the stadium that could be turned into a women’s locker room at some point, Hansen said. This would fix the district’s lack of a women’s locker room at the football stadium.
The lack of women’s locker rooms could also be addressed later when a new press box is put in, although there is no timeline for that yet, said Tracy Vitale, district superintendent.
“Both options are very good in the view of administrators who have looked at this in depth,” Vitale said “Either way, we need to look at female locker rooms down there more closely.”
To keep with the timeline, the board would need to make a decision on which design to pursue by the end of February, Hansen said. This would put the project on track to break ground in December, should the board decide to move forward with the new natatorium.
Both designs include a stretch-25 pool that has a movable bulkhead to create either a 25-meter or 25-yard pool. The standard NCAA and WPIAL short course pool is 25 yards long, but international pools are 25 meters.
Both options also include the capability to connect the natatorium to the intermediate high school, although it would cost an additional $500,000 to $1 million.