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RUSD AQUATIC CENTER

Watch Now: Racine Unified's $22 million aquatic center to get grand opening next month

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MOUNT PLEASANT — It may be cold outside, but swimming could soon be on the schedule.

The Racine Unified School District’s $22 million, 52,840-square-foot Aquatic Center has a grand opening scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 8.

The event is invitation only, the district says, because of COVID-19 concerns.

Video posted by RUSD on Nov. 22, 2021

Water was reported to have been filled the pool for the first time on Oct. 20 as construction on the complex neared completion. Construction began in summer 2020.

The school district announced plans to build the swimming complex next to Case High School after Case’s pool, which opened along with the school in 1966, became so structurally unsound that the school’s swimming and diving teams were not allowed to practice there starting in fall 2018, leading to some swimmers quitting rather than having to be shuttled to other high schools’ pools daily for practices.

Swimmers, family members and other supporters of the swim program were outraged since the district had known for years the pool needed repairs, but money was never devoted to repairing it.

A new pool would have cost as much as $12 million. So instead, the school district decided to build the aquatic center for swimmers from all of RUSD high schools, rather than keeping one pool at each high school.

To fund such a project, Racine Unified greatly increased its Community Service Fund taxing levy from $5 million to $10 million in 2019. Money in a district’s community service fund can be used by districts for projects and other things that benefit communities as a whole, not just students and staff.

Despite that raised levy, the district’s tax rate fell in 2020 by about 5%, although it would likely have fallen by a larger percentage had the CSF not grown so much.

RUSD has promised that there will be open swim days and similar open-to-the-community events at the Aquatic Center, thus qualifying it as a community benefit.

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