Many TPS Pools Go Unused; District Prepares to Close Half

School officials expect the number of Tulsa Public School swimming pools to shrink by half.

Director of Bond Projects Bob LaBass told Channel 8, the school board is preparing to close 12 of the 24 TPS pools. He said renovating and maintaining a pool can cost between $50,000 and $100,000.

"Rather than spend all this money to re-do the pool, we'll close them down and convert them to classrooms," said LaBass.

He explained that many of the pools TPS plans to close are in former middle schools that now function as elementary schools. He said elementary schools do not use pools in curriculum. For that reason, he said the majority of pools to close are not being used at all. Many cannot hold water.

"We did a survey of the schools on if they used them or not, and the only one that was used that we're closing down was Wright. They were just renting it out and making about $3,000 a year. Well, that doesn't begin to cover the cost to operate the thing," said LaBass.

Webster High School is the only school on the list, but LaBass said the pool there has not been used since the 90s.

This is all a part of a $2 million bond to renovate the pools. LaBass said the board will use those funds to upgrade the remaining pools that students use frequently.

The school board is expected to vote Monday on whether or not to fund special needs lifts in the pools. LaBass said they are a requirement and cost about $7,000 each.

The people Channel 8 spoke with Thursday seemed to agree that unused pools do not need to stay open.