University is not too cool for the pool

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Missouri Western aquatic fanatics can swim happily now that the Board of Governors has voted to approve $600,000 for renovations to the M.O. Looney pool. The unanimous vote at Thursday’s meeting also finalized the funding partnership between the university and the City of St. Joseph.
Cale Fessler, vice president for financial planning and administration, introduced the proposal to the governors, highlighting the benefits to the city and the need for university action.
“The Looney pool would become an indoor recreation and competition pool, for use by the university, the city, members of the county,” Fessler said. “The city’s commitment is contingent, obviously, on the renovations of the pool.”
The five-year agreement with the city is to use the pool during the summer months for community open swim, but requires the city to pay $61,000 for the first year of use. In subsequent years, the city will pay 37.5% of operations and maintenance expenses, estimated at $180,000 annually.
President Bob Vartabedian specifically thanked the Student Success Act committee for the funding it provided.
“As we found out, it was a little more expensive than we thought, and we couldn’t do that without students,” Vartabedian said about the Student Success Act committee vote that allocated funds to the Looney project.
Of the $612,141 that the contract allocates for the renovations, $454,045 comes from the Student Success Act fund and $158,096 comes from University Operating Capital Major Renovation funds, a special renovation budget.
“Our governing board stayed within it,” Vartabedian said, referencing the Board pushback toward the university’s plan to fill in the pool and create a recreational space. “We came close to filling in the pool, and you asked us not to do that.”