The city and the school district entered into a 25-year interlocal agreement in 2007 to construct and use the natatorium and split the cost. The terms of the agreement required PISD to pay for half of all maintenance costs that exceed $15,000 among other costs.
Superintendent Larry Berger said the facility has scheduled “significant repairs” that will end up costing about $7 million, of which the school district is required to pay half per the interlocal agreement. He referred to the current agreement as “poor,” saying the district pays 50% of maintenance costs while “only [getting] 20% of the facility.”
The PISD board of trustees debated the terms of a potential new agreement at a March 7 meeting that would either amend the existing agreement to feature a fixed annual cost or buy out of the agreement and lease the facility. PISD uses the facility to host aquatic sports events for its students.
According to the current plans for the potential new agreement, the district could pay an annual “all-in fee” of $450,000 for the remaining 10 years of the interlocal agreement with the city instead of footing the bill for half of maintenance costs. The district could also extend the agreement to 15 years and pay $100,000 less annually.
Alternatively, the district could buy out of the interlocal agreement by paying the city half of the natatorium’s major repairs, or $3.5 million, up front. Buying out of the agreement would forgo the district’s privileges for its use of the natatorium but would reduce the annual cost of using the space to about $122,000.
Trustee Crystal Carbone said the board needs to understand the impact any agreements would have on the district’s budget before making a decision. She indicated the district is potentially facing a budget deficit in the coming school year.
Board members decided to table the discussion for its next meetings in April after meeting again with the city.