Members of the Mt. Lebanon High School swim team had the opportunity to try the new pool for the first time Monday.
Members of the Mt. Lebanon High School wrestling team cut the ribbon Monday for the school's new wrestling room.
By Harry Funk
For Mt. Lebanon residents who enjoy swimming, the word is new.
In the past week, both the municipality and school district held ceremonies commemorating the latest publicly financed pools. A ceremonial groundbreaking took place Friday at the Mt. Lebanon Swim Center, heralding $4.1 million worth of improvements with a targeted completion of June 15.
On Monday, the pool in the new athletic facility at Mt. Lebanon High School officially opened when members of the school swim team took the plunge.
Shortly afterward, students cut a ceremonial ribbon in the wrestling room of the new building.
The $109.6 million high school renovation project includes $14 million for the athletic facility.
The events represented culmination of some long-term endeavors. The swim center project, for example, had been in the planning stages for a decade before commissioners approved a $4.5 million bond issue in late 2012 and awarded relevant contracts this year.
"We really owe a lot of gratitude to this commission for taking that step," municipal manager Stephen Feller said Friday.
"It's really a community gathering place," he said of the swim center. "It's a key component, especially on a hot summer day, of our recreational opportunities."
The high school renovation project had its roots in a 2001 facility assessment calling for major upgrades to the complex, parts of which date back to 1928. The existing swimming pool opened in 1955.
Among those attending the new pool's opening was Jo Posti, hours before her final school board meeting after eight years of service.
"Obviously, it's very exciting," she said. "It is the result of a lot of very hard work from a lot of people."
She noted that the overall high school project included plenty of opportunity for input from Mt. Lebanon residents, which has included support for improved sports-related amenities.
"Whether we've won or lost, I think the community looks at kids' athletic experience as a really big part of their educational experience," Ms. Posti said. "Those lessons are something that you take away, no matter how good of an athlete you are."
During the swim center groundbreaking, municipal recreation director David Donnellan described many of the improvements to take place at the 36-year-old facility, including the installation of a pool heater.
"There will be no more purple lips on children in the early part of the season," he said.
Some big-ticket items are a completely renovated bathhouse featuring direct access to the pool area without having to walk through changing rooms and major structural upgrades to the pool itself.
Amenities for swimmers include a "zero-depth" entry, allowing them to wade into the water, along with a new waterslide and poolside climbing wall.
"The modern, state-of-the-art aquatic facility will preserve Mt. Lebanon as a recreation leader in the region," Mr. Feller said.
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